It's not often I give a book 5-stars. This book is everything that good literature ought to be - it's an amazingly well written piece of historical fiction, a murder mystery, a potboiler that keeps you up at night and importantly so, a glimpse of English society in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Barnes writes beautifully (and humorously) and his prose is a continual delight. He writes about subtle racism and about "Englishness" and about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He lends the work historical authenticity by using genuinely quoted letters and news-clippings directly related to his story. Good literature must be accessible. This book is more than accessible - it is a complete winner in every sense.