I LIKED it!–but I’d have liked it even better if they’d done it as a straight Victorian adventure rather than making it a dream of the modern-day Sherlock, which didn’t really make sense or significantly advance our understanding of the Moriarty case. In my opinion Mycroft’s eating disorder was treated somewhat distastefully, and the metafictional discussions about Mrs. Hudson’s narrative function, &c., were a little jarring. The canonical characters wouldn’t talk like that, and I don’t see why the figments of Sherlock’s imagination would do so; he’s never read the Conan Doyle stories, since they don’t exist in his universe.
There were some things that were strikingly reminiscent of “Heaven Sent,” didn’t you think? The horrifying bride herself, of course, and the hero taking a very high dive as the only way out of a desperate situation. The Maze as well, so like the labyrinth on Gallifrey with its gliding ghosts! I’m not complaining: I rather enjoyed those parallels. I suspect they give us a glimpse into the author’s nightmares.
On the whole I’d give it seven and a half or eight out of ten, because it was good but it could have been better. For quite a bit of its running time it looked like a real Victorian Sherlock Holmes story, and gave us an idea of how well Moffat & co. could do a real Sherlock Holmes series if they weren’t so hung-up on being surprising and innovative for its own sake. That’s Moffat’s besetting sin, if you ask me–it ruined the later episodes of “Coupling” and it ruined most of Matt Smith’s tenure as Doctor Who; but as far as I was concerned it didn’t quite ruin “The Abominable Bride.”
I am the author of ‘A Case of Witchcraft,’ a Victorian gothic thriller in which Sherlock Holmes meets Aleister Crowley. The review that I like best of it is this one (from a total stranger on the other side of the world):
‘A Case of Witchcraft is one of the best pastiches I have read, and it is right now my favorite. It is incredibly erudite and clever, but never loses focus on characterization and plot. I don’t think I have read many books that can balance that, honestly. I was entertained the whole way through.’
Don’t forget, dear readers, that “A Case of Witchcraft” is available here on the British Amazon site.
Our American cousins may buy it here.