“The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes” by Jamyang Norbu.
Reviewed by Miriam Scott
Sherlock Holmes has fuelled the imagination of the reading public since his 1887 debut in “A Study in Scarlet”. This enigmatic and major figure of the detective genre has also inspired screenwriters and novelists alike to create movies and novels around his strongly delineated and eccentric characteristics and the evocative time in which he ‘lived’.
“The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes” focuses on the period of his ‘disappearance’ (rumours of his death were greatly exaggerated). Using a line spoken by Dr Watson in the “Adventure of the Empty House”, 1903, “I travelled for two years in Tibet, therefore, and amused myself by visiting Lhasa”, Jamyang Norbu writes a tale that takes you back in time and on one of Holmes’ epic adventures. This novel is rich in Anglo-Indian colour, snippets of history and insights into Tibet’s precarious position throughout its existence. Filled with little gems of scientific observation and political insights, this narrative provides an explanation of the mystery that has always shrouded the period of Holmes’ disappearance.
This entrancing novel contains humour and is a window into a past world that, for many, remains romantic and exotic.