Pastiche Review: The Seven Percent Solution

June 7th, 2009 | Tags: ,

The Seven Percent Solution

Author: Nicholas Meyer
First Published: 1974
Publisher: EP Dutton

I suspect I should probably preface this with an apology. Most of my reviews are quite coherent. This one, on the other hand, is not. You make take that as a sign of my enjoyment, for when something amuses me, or excites me, I am often rendered incapable of speech.

Some Enjoyable Aspects

The footnotes. My God, the footnotes. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. I confess, I’m rather fond of inside jokes, and I’m especially fond of the concept that Watson was a little absent-minded at times (granted, that’s not necessarily how I see Watson), so Meyer’s corrections and elaborations on Watson’s narrative amused me beyond comprehension.

And slashy. My God is this book slashy. I mean, I thought Canon was slashy, but this… this takes my ‘Holmes and Watson are head over heels in love’ theory to a whole new level. I am thrilled beyond words that Meyer played this up. Granted, I don’t know if he did it intentionally, but the bond between them? The love between them? Oh yes. Oh yes, indeed.

I think, though, my favourite thing about this book was strung out, deluded, border-line insane Holmes. I confess, I have a kink for crazy characters so I really, really enjoyed the hypothesis that Holmes might eventually lose it due to his cocaine use.

Now, I’m not saying I necessarily agree that Holmes was an addict. Yes, he used cocaine, but I know several functioning coke addicts, and I think Holmes fit into this category. But, the thought that Holmes use could escalate, to the point of it becoming a problem, intrigues me. Especially when you consider what it was that pushed him over the edge.

Watson leaving him. For a wife.


And I like the idea that he would conjure an arch-nemesis in his deluded state, because it’s very in keeping with the Holmes that ACD created. For anyone as intelligent as Holmes, I am certain they would crave some great evil mastermind to do battle with. Average, every day criminals must have bored Holmes senseless.

I had some quibbles with the book (I have never been a fan of Freud, for example), but overall I really enjoyed it. It was at times touching, and clever, and quite funny. I recognized the characters (most of the time) and found the theory behind the work quite interesting.

I have only given the novel 4 out of 5 pipes, but I really, really wanted to give it a 5th. I decided, in the end, to save it, as I am certain I may come across something that transcends this pastiche. If that doesn’t happen, I may come back and bump up Meyer’s rating.

  1. Katherine J.
    August 15th, 2009 at 22:45
    Quote | #1

    I tracked down this book, purchased it, and devoured it…all because of this site and this review.

    I loved it.

    Yes, there were parts that were silly…but it was a good sort of Holmes and Watson Mushy Lovely silly, and that is most certainly my cup of tea.

    I’m actually quite content to claim this book into my own personal canon because the premise is just TOO fetching, especially the ending.

    …The only problem, now, is that I cannot seem to get my hands on a pastiche that is even close to matching it in good solid Holmesy fun.

  2. admin
    August 18th, 2009 at 09:04
    Quote | #2

    @Katherine J.
    Sadly, I’m not sure you’ll ever find a better pastiche, although, and I haven’t review it yet, but I have been reading Adrian Conan Doyle (ACD’s son) and John Dickson Carr’s Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, and there are several stories in that collection that aren’t half bad. They certainly seem to get the importance of Holmes/Watson, as well as Holmes & Watson.

  3. Katherine J.
    August 20th, 2009 at 15:07
    Quote | #3


    That collection is certainly on my list to read!

    So far I’ve blasted my way through “The Last Story of Sherlock Holmes” “7%” and a silly little thing called “My Life With Sherlock Holmes”. I am currently reading “Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street” and have “The Veiled Detective” on order while a very intriguing sounding piece called “My Dearest Holmes” waits its turn.

    Suffice to say…if there ARE pastiches that can match or maybe even better 7%…I plan to find ’em.

    • admin
      August 21st, 2009 at 12:46
      Quote | #4

      Eeek, My Dearest Holmes, while at times interesting, is a terrible read. I’d put it on the bottom of your pile. It’s sad, because it would have been very nice for someone to pull off the whole Holmes/Watson were gay pastiche. Sadly, this book isn’t the one to do it.

  4. Katherine J.
    August 24th, 2009 at 20:05
    Quote | #5


    Oh, no! That’s sad to hear. I was so looking forward to it, too. 🙁

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