One Must Tell the BeesAbraham Lincoln and the Final Education of Sherlock Holmes
The ‘Spanish Influenza’ is raging across Europe and The Great War is drawing to a close when a retired Dr. John H. Watson hurriedly boards a train to the South Downs of England where Sherlock Holmes has been tending his bees and writing his memoirs. Watson carries a manuscript in his valise and this note in his pocket:
That I have become addicted to a particularly malignant class of opiates is the inescapable conclusion to which I have arrived after a brief but intensive period of self-examination, and it is in this moment of lucidity I call upon you to come to my aid.
Bring your medical kit, and please, come at once.
As the train rattles southward, Watson pulls out the manuscript that arrived with the note. Titled “The Art and Science of Rational Deduction,” it is the treatise on his life’s work that Holmes has been promising to write for years, but Watson discovers it begins with a remarkable story—a story that had never been told…even to Watson.
This is the story of Sherlock Holmes’s journey from his childhood in the streets of London to the DuPont gunpowder works in America in the last year of the Civil War. His work there as a chemist earns him the trust of Edwin M. Stanton, the all-powerful War Secretary in the cabinet of President Abraham Lincoln and ultimately leads to young Holmes’s involvement in the most infamous manhunt in history—the 12 day hunt for John Wilkes Booth.
It is Sherlock Holmes’s very first case.
But the shocking revelations in Holmes’s manuscript do not prepare Watson for what awaits him when he finally reaches Holmes’s cottage in East Dean and realizes that he will soon share Holmes’s very last case…
At a time when Western history is being reevaluated and retold, when old heroes are being cast aside and their statues pulled down and names removed from public buildings, “One Must Tell the Bees” is a remarkably timely book that explores the evils of slavery through the eyes of a young Englishman who would grow up to be the greatest consulting detective the world has ever known, while reminding us of the importance of some of those heroes of the past—most particularly Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation—and the many good deeds among the bad during the American Civil War.
And more than that, “One Must Tell the Bees” brings the full story of Sherlock Holmes’s life—and death—to light in a tender, evocative manner that only a writer steeped in the language and culture that produced Sherlock Holmes could achieve.