The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols” by Nicolas Mayer—A Newly Discovered Case

Meyer, Nicolas. “The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols,” Minotaur, 2019.

A Newly Discovered Case

Amos Lassen

Nicolas Meyer in ““The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols” writes about the shocking discovery of an unknown case drawn from the newly-found Watson journal. In January, 1905: Sherlock Holmes and Watson are called by Holmes’ brother Mycroft to take on a clandestine investigation. A British Secret Service agent was found dead and floating in the Thames with a manuscript smuggled into England at the cost of her life. The manuscript seems to be the minutes of a meeting of a secret group with the intention of taking over the world.

This new adventure takes Holmes and Watson along with an exciting woman to the Orient Express and a ride from Paris to Tsarist Russia from where they try to find the source of the document. Following them are men who are determined to stop them. What Holmes and Watson find is a very large conspiracy that they realize that they have never faced a conspiracy such as this.

Those of you who follow my reviews know that this is not the kind of book I would usually be interested in reading but there is a very important Jewish theme here which had always interested me—that of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. I have learned that the author, Nicolas Mayer has always been interested in forgery and like myself, he was fascinated with the “Most destructive forgery of all time, ‘The Protocols”.

“The Protocols” are the alleged minutes of a secret meeting of Jews, plotting to take over the world.  The minutes were originally disseminated in 1903, and are an early example of “fake news,” and even though the document has been exposed as a hoax, it continues to live on.  Today thanks to Premier Vladimir Putin, “The Protocols” can be found in textbooks throughout schools in the Middle East.

Mayer’s idea was “what if Sherlock Holmes were commissioned to investigate “The Protocols”?  Here Holmes and Watson expose the dark scheme of the Ohkrana, the Tsar’s secret police, to create “The Protocols” as justification for the pogroms of the early twentieth century.  Russian-American Jewess, Anna Strunsky Walling, one of the founders of the NAACP joins with Sherlock to learn who created “The Protocols” and why.

This is a very clever book that kept me entertained throughout the read. At the very beginning, we are told that this case was one of Holmes’s rare failures. Because of the emphasis on fake news, the novel is more relevant than ever. There are parallels here to the rise of fascism and what is happening today in our government.

This is a suspenseful narrative filled with period detail and main themes are so relevant to our current age.

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