originally published 1894
Martin Hewitt, Investigator is a series of short stories linked by the protagonist, Martin Hewitt, and written down by a good friend, the journalist Brett. The similarities to Doyle's Holmes are striking and most likely intentional. Doyle had killed off Holmes in 1893 and other writers were looking to fill that void.
Unlike Holmes, however, Martin Hewitt runs an investigative business, is a very personable gentleman, works well with the police force and easily makes friends. Add to this his ingenious ability for disguise and fluidity in thieves cant and in Mr. Hewitt you have an investigator that is able to blend in anywhere and solve the most intriguing of crimes.
In Martin Hewitt, Investigator, Brett gives the details of several of Hewitt's most renowned cases, many of which he was intimately involved with as well. They are tales of impossible to solve crimes that Hewitt was able to crack by piecing together a few clues (a burnt out match, raindrops on a hat, un-capitalized letters in a note) where the police detectives had failed.
While the solutions to these various crimes and mysteries do fit together well with the evidence and clues, the reader is not privy to all the information that Hewitt is (as he doesn't share it with Brett). Hewitt then chides Brett (or the police) for not having seen such and such clue and then builds his entire case on that missed bit of information. Morrison uses this ploy to make the solving seem even more spectacular, but this style patronizes the reader and is not a fully satisfying reading experience.
~~Read for the Victorian Literature Challenge.~~
Note: This is my opinion; on Amazon, 50% of the reviews were 5 stars.