Book Review: The Remedy
By Thomas Goetz
I have always been a history nerd. The past and how today came to be has been a constant fascination and a perfect day for me would to be sitting among ruins, taking in the history around me. As much as I love the bustling modern Sherlock, I take a fiendish delight in the Victorian underworld of crime and dirt, of cobblestone alleyways, and a world on the brink of so much innovation.
So when I was given Thomas Goetz’s The Remedy, I was more than a little tickled. Here I had something that was combining so many of my interests and loves into one handy book, and I was not left disappointed.
The Remedy is beautifully researched, perfectly lacing together a thrilling narrative and the scientific discovery of the Victorian Period. Goetz illuminates the origin of the germ theory in the quest to cure tuberculosis and how many men, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, helped in that journey.
The historical context for Doyle’s part in this tale may take a while to get to, but at no point was I wondering where he was. The journey of Robert Koch was more than enough to keep me entertained and excited, and it is easy to see how he, along with Dr. Joseph Bell, was an influence on Doyle’s work for Sherlock Holmes.
I was completely enraptured in the history, and surprisingly the science. I never enjoyed science in school and chemistry and biology were particularly painful for me, but Goetz’s writing is masterful and full of tasteful nuggets of information that were easy enough to comprehend without sacrificing the quality of the research. The author also has quite a wit about him, which makes reading The Remedy particularly fun.
In terms of Sherlock Holmes, The Remedy drives the point home that this was all contemporary to the writing of the stories. The world was changing at a rapid place with scientific and industrial innovation at the front line. We’re treated to an inside look into this world and how exciting and terrifying a time it must have been to live in.
In short, I cannot recommend this book enough. Whether you be interested in Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes himself, or even medical and scientific history, you will be delighted. Yes, it’s around 300 pages long, but it never feels like a chore. Instead, it’s an extremely informative and fantastically entertaining book that you will feel all the smarter for reading.
You can buy The Remedy here, on Amazon, or at any US retailer.
A copy of this book was provided by Gotham Books for review.
Kristina Manente is the founder of The Baker Street Babes, as well as a podcaster, reporter, event coordinator, and PR guru for the Babes. Beyond Holmes, she’s a gamer, a traveler, a writer, a radio host, and a Van Winkle style napper.
You can listen to her radio work at kristinamanente.com, follow her travels at The Nerdventurists, and read her nerdy culture blog at verynerdycurly.com. Feel free to stalk her on twitter at @CurlyFourEyes.