Thoughts: The Mimicking of Known Success by Malka Older

Source: Netgalley, thank you very much Tor!
TL;DR: A unique and very refreshing take on the Holmesian mystery genre, on Jupiter!

Plot: An intriguing mystery of a missing man, that is compounded with a side of murder and thievery!
Setting: Set on elaborate rings around Jupiter it was hard to picture in the larger scale, but the urban settings were clear and dark, giving a gaslamp feeling to the story
Characters: Very Holmes and Watson, though with a more modern and interesting approach
Sci-fi/Mystery: Intriguing! I found everything very captivating and wasn’t quite able to guess the ending on this one!

Thoughts:

When you pitch something to me as ‘Holmesian’ my guard goes up. Sherlock Holmes and the associated story beats/tropes have been used so much and let’s all be honest – so badly – so many times it makes me flinch. I adore them when used correctly, I’m a big fan of the original, and am very aware of where they failed and where they can fail in the modern sense so I always go in with trepidation. This paid off though and has the promise of being a new favorite Holmesian mystery series!

Set on Jupiter this novella throws us in with little fanfare to the mystery of a man missing of one of the rings/rails that humanity has built around the gaseous plant. Mossa, our ‘Holmes’ of the story, sets out to reunite with an old friend. Pleiti, the friend in question, is our Watson and the narrator of our story from there on. The two are old friends from college, once lovers now distant friends and they begin to work the case together. Pleiti is Mossa’s way and guide at the university at which she studies and works.

The mystery itself had me guessing (an impressive feat) and I enjoyed the reveals and the structure. It felt very much like the story telling style of Mr. Arthur Conan Doyle but with a much improved and modern flair. There was also a current within the story of our past on Earth and why Jupiter was the home of humanity which I enjoyed a great deal. My only complaint was the difficulty I had in visualizing the seemingly elaborate structure that was used to house humanity around Jupiter but as I continued to read this fell more the back of my mind. I do hope to see some concept or fan art of the place however – if someone finds some or makes it let me know!

What little romance is there is simple and doesn’t distract from the overall plot though I’m interested to see how that carries through to the next book(s). A great SF mystery novella I’d highly recommend for my Holmes fans out there.

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