“The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth” by Leonard Goldberg is the newest book in the Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series. The year is 1915, and Great Britain is at war with Germany.
Joanna, her husband, John, and his father, Dr. Watson, are approached by Dr. Verner, who took over Dr. Watson’s practice when he retired. Dr. Verner was asked to attend to someone who was complaining of stomach issues. The doctor was told that he needed to keep it secret because of the person’s identity and that the person was a mute.
When Dr. Verner was treating the patient, the patient spelled out help on his stomach while the doctor was examining him. Dr. Verner believes he was treating someone held against his will and seeks the help of the Watsons.
Within 24 hours of Joanna and the Drs. Watson agreeing to help, Dr. Verner is found murdered in his office.
Joanna quickly deduces that the “patient” is Alistair Ainsworth, a high-ranking Englishman in the employ of the military. He is one of several cryptographers aiding the British in their war effort. Ainsworth has disappeared, and the military needs him found quickly, especially once they realize that he was kidnapped by German agents.
Thus begins Joanna’s investigation into the group of cryptographers, Ainsworth’s friends and family and the military advisers who work with the cryptographers. They are racing against the clock to not only save the military plans of the British but Ainsworth’s life as well.
As Joanna’s investigation narrows the suspect list, another murder happens; this time it’s one of the other cryptographers. This leads Joanna and Inspector Lestrade to realize that there is a traitor amongst those working on the codes. How else could Ainsworth have been kidnapped so easily.
Joanna once again uses the Baker Street irregulars, still being led by Wiggins and Toby Two, the bloodhound daughter of Toby, who was used by Sherlock Holmes in several cases.
The side story of Joanna’s son, Jonathan, wanting to become a private investigator like his grandfather, is a nice addition to the main story.
Joanna proves time and again that she is legitimately her father’s daughter, with her intuition and her ability to deduce facts from seemingly unrelated clues.
I truly enjoy this series and love the idea of Sherlock continuing on through Joanna. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
This is a good book for those who like the classic mysteries.