Read Sherlock Holmes: The Thinking Engine by James Lovegrove Online


March 1895. Hilary Term at Oxford. In the newly built extension to the University Galleries, Professor Quantock has put the finishing touches to a wondrous computational device which, he claims, is capable of analytical thought to rival that of the cleverest men alive. Indeed, his so-called Thinking Engine seems equal to Sherlock Holmes himself in its deductive powers.To pMarch 1895. Hilary Term at Oxford. In the newly built extension to the University Galleries, Professor Quantock has put the finishing touches to a wondrous computational device which, he claims, is capable of analytical thought to rival that of the cleverest men alive. Indeed, his so-called Thinking Engine seems equal to Sherlock Holmes himself in its deductive powers.To prove his point, Quantock programmes his machine to solve a murder in the Jericho area which has been baffling Oxford police. The Engine identifies a suspect who proves not to have a valid alibi for the night of the crime. The man is duly arrested and arraigned.Sherlock Holmes cannot ignore this challenge. He and Watson travel to Oxford, where a battle of wits ensues between the great detective and his mechanical counterpart as they compete to see which of them can be first to solve a series of crimes. As man and machine vie for supremacy, it becomes clear that the Thinking Engine has its own agenda. Holmes’s and Watson’s lives are on the line as a ghost from the past catches up with them......

Title : Sherlock Holmes: The Thinking Engine
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781783295036
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sherlock Holmes: The Thinking Engine Reviews

  • Chris Apolant
    2019-03-25 10:41

    Sadly, this was a very poor effort from an author who has penned one of my favorite pastiches - that is, 'Gods of War'. It did have its strong points, namely, a well written mystery with an intriguing, if slightly veneer, plot. It was fun, and at times clever, but its problems were numerous and glaring.I am one of those rather stodgy individuals who looks askance at authors who take blatant liberties with characterizations, and found both the portrayals of Holmes and Watson to be on shaky ground, not only their "voices", but in regards to their interactions with one another. Both acted in ways that their canon counterparts never would have, and this was particularly glaring in one early scene where Holmes, an Victorian gentlemen to his core - if an unconventional, Bohemian one - makes deductions intended to be personally hurtful to a rival reporter.It was an awful scene that made the great detective appear to be a pretentious, self-absorbed man who uses his intelligence amorally, and one the true Sherlock Holmes as penned by Arthur Conan Doyle would have been rightfully disgusted by.While there were some vivid descriptions of Oxford, the entirety of this book lacked believable Victorian prose, often fell into blatant anachronisms, and contained not a shred of atmosphere denoting it took place in the 19th century.What ultimately did this book in, however, was its seemingly rushed, comic book ending that defied my suspension of disbelief beyond its limits. Without delving into spoilery content, I will suffice it to say that it was not so much who was behind the conspiracy that was so far beyond credulity, but more along the lines of how this character was presented that came off as... asinine. The entire denouement scene and the way in which the book hurriedly comes to its unsatisfying end combined to make this not really a forgettable book, but one I should very dearly hope to forget.

  • Ken
    2019-04-11 13:42

    3 1/2 STARS

  • Melissa
    2019-03-27 16:35

    See my other reviews at Never Enough BooksIt is spring in 1895 and Sherlock Holmes is adjusting to life once more at 221B Baker Street. When news from the towering spires of Oxford University reach his ears however, the game once more is afoot.Professor Quantock has created an incredible machine that he claims can rival the most astute minds – including Sherlock Holmes. When the newspapers place a wager between man and machine, Holmes cannot resist a challenge. He and Watson travel to Oxford’s hallowed halls to take on the clever thinking engine where the two compete to be the first to solve a series of crimes. At first the crimes seem unconnected but as Holmes and Watson dig deeper they begin to uncover more clues that point to the Thinking Machine perhaps having its own agenda.As much as I love the influx of new Sherlock Holmes stories, unfortunately The Thinking Engine is not one of the best. Lovegrove’s previous Holmes novel The Gods of War was excellent and I was hoping this second book would be as good as the previous, but alas it is not.That is not to say this wasn’t a good book; far from it in fact. While the mysteries were well thought out and executed and the story itself was overall quite good, it just did not feel like a Sherlock Holmes novel. At some points the characterizations were so off; especially that of Holmes. At times it felt like Holmes was almost a caricature of himself.As for the thrilling climax, I found it almost laughable. It was not the kind of ending I was looking for and it felt quite trite. The ending felt rushed and wasn’t very satisfying. Yes, the good guys won and the bad guys got their comeuppance; it just didn’t feel right though. It could have been handled so much better.As much as I enjoy reading and rereading Sherlock Holmes short stories and novels, The Thinking Engine is one I will likely not read again. The characters whom I normally find so fascinating were not at all engaging and the end left me feeling let down.Only the most die-hard Holmes fans should consider this one even if it’s to complete their collection. Casual Holmes fans can give this one a pass.

  • F.R.
    2019-04-24 13:40

    It’s Sherlock Holmes versus the internet!Well, that’s not quite accurate. But it is Sherlock Holmes pitted against an incredible crime solving machine which its inventor hopes one day will link up to other machines in police stations and newspaper rooms all around the country. So yeah, it’s Sherlock Holmes taking on the internet.It's a book which manages the interesting trick of feeling both Victorian and incredibly modern at the same time. I don’t have any way of knowing if it might be the case, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it turned out that Lovegrove was a big fan of the Basil Rathbone version of Sherlock. With its derring-do version of the character, a big grand adventure with melodramatic moments, THE THINKING ENGINE has the same kind of feel as those 1940's movies. (Although our Watson here is far more competent than the Nigel Bruce version.) As such it may not be quite in sync with Conan-Doyle, but it’s still a damned entertaining read.Fancy reading my forthcoming novella, Death at the Seaside, ahead of everyone else? Advance review copies are available. Just follow this link

  • Fred Hughes
    2019-04-21 11:22

    A huge twist at the end with an old enemy of Holmes showing up. As a lead up to that encounter Holmes seems to be the worse when trying to out sleuth the Thinking Machine. But he soon rises to the occassion and there is an epic battle at the end.Another great book in this series. Recommended

  • Mabji
    2019-04-23 09:24

    Ich hatte meine Probleme mit diesem Buch.Zum einen war für mich relativ schnell ersichtlich, dass der Colonel seine Finger mit im Spiel hat, denn mal ganz ehrlich, so offentsichtlich wie er am Anfang der Geschichte erwähnt wurde, konnt es ja nur so kommen.Zum anderen... Moriarty... schon wieder... ich weiß nicht wie viele Geschichten ich jetzt schon gelesen habe, in denen er plötzlich wieder auftaucht! Irgendwie erscheint es mir, dass die Autoren zu faul sind sich selbst einen eigenen Megabösewicht auszudenken!Nicht desto trotz war dieser Moriarty wenigstens von seinem Sturz angeschlagen, deswegen gibt es nicht ganz so viel abzug und die Geschichte mit dem Computer-Ähnlichen Gebilde war nun auch nicht so daneben.Schade bleibt es trotzdem. Ich hätte mich tatsächlich mehr über Colonel Moriarty gefreut als über den Professor selbst!

  • Kenneth
    2019-03-28 09:44

    Overly long. Felt like it had been padded. If you find yourself asking questions while reading, it can be a good thing. In the case of this book, it was a bad thing. I would guess that many readers had an idea of 'where' this story was leading. Perhaps worth a short story form, but not book length. kapm.

  • Brent Davis
    2019-03-27 11:43

    I would recommend this to any Holmes fan. Quick paced and brilliant read.

  • Nanette
    2019-04-17 15:36

    Good story. Lovegrove wrote a interesting story and both Sherlock Holmes and John Watson came off as believable characters; the way that Conan Doyle would have written them.

  • Betsy
    2019-04-02 11:30

    Holmes and Watson were so out of character as to be unbelievable. So was every other Canon character who appears. The author couldn't even be bothered to replicate their speech patterns correctly.

  • Rob Tamplin
    2019-04-16 11:27


  • Nigel
    2019-03-28 16:37

    Not the best of Lovegrove’s Sherlock Holmes novels but it was enjoyable enough. Whilst the exact nuance of the final solution escaped me I had identified the broad strokes of the solution quite early in the novel. Pitting the deductive reasoning powers of Holmes against a fledging computer is an interesting premise in much the same way as the constant competing of chess master versus computer have been interesting throughout the development of the computer. Where the novel falls down a bit is that it comes across as a series of interconnected themes rather than as a seamless story. I won’t spoil the twist at the end for those who haven’t read the novel, but whilst it was somewhat unpredictable it also felt a bit of a cheap cheat - a bit like a child’s story concluding with “and then I woke up”. The relationship between Holmes and Watson in all of the Lovegrove’s novels are not entirely compatible with those from the original canon. No reader of the Conan Doyle books could ever describe Holmes as people person but in this instalment he comes across as ever more obnoxious then ever and seems to go out of his way to insult /belittle people.

  • Rose
    2019-04-14 15:18

    Oh, *man*, I don't know how to rate this.James Lovegrove has rapidly (we're talking since this summer) become one of my favorite Holmesian pastiche writers. This is my third Lovegrove-penned Sherlock Holmes story, and it really lined up to check all of my boxes: a "road trip" case (I always enjoy when Holmes's adventures take him out of his home turf), super-high stakes, epic stumbling blocks ("Watson's" intro promises a case where not only is Holmes himself pushed to the breaking point, but his friendship with Watson is strained and tested, too, and the story makes good on those promises), a touch of science fiction (I loved the idea of Holmes having to face something so many of us do: the fear that technology was about to make his skill set obsolete) … and a book jacket that promises, if you know your Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes at all, the reappearance of several notable foes.Lovegrove, like any other pastiche writer, places touches of his own interpretations of the characters into his writing. His Holmes here was a little more arrogant than I tend to prefer, but it didn't slide too far in the wrong direction, and had enough politeness and polish in Holmes to counterbalance it, so I could let it go. Besides, I liked what Lovegrove seemed to be setting up with his choice of 1895 as the setting: it's the year after Holmes's return from his three-year Reichenbach hiatus, and despite it being a year in which Holmes is at the top of his game, it's also a year of recovery for the both Holmes and Watson, in different ways. (This doesn't pan out quite as much as I would've liked, but I appreciated the fact that it was touched on -- the first time I've seen a pastiche writer suggest ANY kind of emotional fall-out from the events of Reichenbach for either character. More of this, pastiche-writers, please!)I even liked (view spoiler)[Holmes's descent into opium abuse, both initially when it seemed like a stumble made by a person in pain, and then again when it turned out to be a part of Holmes's ploy to get his man. As an "Elementary" fan, I was perfectly willing to accept a momentarily-broken Sherlock Holmes; when it turned out to have been a deliberate move on Holmes's part, that jibed with the Conan Doyle character even if I find it unlikely that Conan Doyle ever would've pushed that far. (hide spoiler)] But still; everything was on track. The plot twist at the end was one I found super-neat, and the surprise burst of action at the finale was properly exciting. All was coming along nicely for a four-star review, no question.And then those bloody last few pages.(view spoiler)[Look, Sherlock Holmes is not Batman. He'll freely defend himself, and he's carried a pistol on more than one occasion. (His decision to generally leave the shooting to Watson always seems to have more to do with trusting Watson -- with his military service -- to be the better shot, than it does with Holmes pulling a Batman or a Doctor Who and hating firearms.) But that said, Holmes is not a _murderer_. He'll kill in self-defense, or defense of Watson ("The Sign of Four," right), but that's about it. So that whole thing with Holmes _forcibly euthanizing Moriarty with an overdose of morphine_ kinda appalled me. I wonder if, for the author, *not* having Holmes do it would've been a cheat -- but it was the exact opposite issue for me. Neither Holmes nor Watson are murderers, so having Watson show mercy and Holmes _not_ just did not work for me. I'd enjoyed the book enough that I was able to sort of disregard my disagreement with the ending, and still came away feeling I'd enjoyed the reading experience otherwise -- but the more I think about it, the more it bugs me. (hide spoiler)]I've always been pretty upfront about how important the ending of a story is for me -- a great one can save a story for me, and a bad one can ruin the whole experience. It was a nice change of pace to be able to acknowledge my enjoyment of the book even as I disagreed with the ending -- but between that ending, and a Holmes just a touch more arrogant than in Lovegrove's previous offerings, it does leave me, I think, at three stars.Still looking forward to more from Lovegrove!

  • Dale
    2019-04-05 14:35

    Can a machine out think Sherlock Holmes?Sherlock Holmes and the Thinking Engine by James LovegroveCanonically, this takes place concurrent with 3STU, in 1895.Holmes meets Harry Houdini for the first time while investigating reports of a mummy roaming the British Museum. The mummy in question is among the Rubenstein Collection, property of an eccentric American newspaper magnate.Afterwards, Holmes finds himself insulted by a newspaper article. The article in question states that a Professor Malcolm Quantock, of Balliol College, Oxford; has created a Thinking Engine.This device goes further than Charles Babbage’s Difference and Analytical Engines. Given the raw data, imputed on a typewriter keyboard, Quantock’s Thinking Engine is able to think and reason, and then solve cases, reporting via teletype. Later in the story phonographic cylinders give the machine a voice of sorts.The article further states that this machine is the equal of Sherlock Holmes himself. There is a challenge for Holmes to come to Oxford and face the machine. A newspaper owner even puts up five hundred pounds against Holmes’ chances.Holmes, never one to take second place to man or machine travels to Oxford. A murder takes place where the suspect seems to have an unshakable alibi. The challenge is on! And the machine apparently works…This story shows the dogged energy Holmes will put in to solve all challenges. Holmes barges ahead with no thought as to the feelings of anyone, and the relationship between Holmes and Watson becomes strained.The machine appears to work, but if it does, what could this mean for the world? If, as Professor Quantock postulates, there is a Thinking Engine in every Police Department in the world—why would anyone need a detective period, much less one as skilled as Holmes?The twists and turns of this story are far too good for me to go any further and spoil the tale for other readers. I will say I didn’t see this one coming! You are going to like this adventure, I all but guarantee it!I give the story five plus stars!Quoth the Raven…

  • S.C. Skillman
    2019-04-05 14:21

    This story is an ingenious contribution by James Lovegrove to the Sherlock Holmes archive. Fashioned as a narrative told by Dr John Watson, it employs all the elegance of the language used by Conan Doyle in his original stories. I was captivated by this account of Holmes' and Watson's stay in Oxford when a number of cases need to be unravelled, and are all connected to the new Thinking Engine designed and built by Professor Quantock. I enjoyed the little tongue-in-cheek humorous touches which make reference to aspects of the Sherlock Holmes phenomenon many of us are so familiar with, for instance Holmes's dry observation to Watson that he himself never uses the phrase "elementary" although Watson himself seems keen on including it in his stories and falsely claiming that Holmes uses it regularly. In this story Holmes goes through a period when he seems to act totally out of character, and it was interesting to note how unsettling I found this. We are so used to Holmes being in control, intellectually superior, and several steps ahead, that it is quite disturbing to find him apparently weak and vulnerable. But of course nothing is quite what it seems with Holmes...An enjoyable and gripping read.

  • LillyBooks
    2019-04-04 12:45

    What an inventive mystery this is! Sherlock Holmes versus a proto-computer to see who has the greatest calculating mind? Yes, please. Although, of course, the basic final solution was obvious and expected, it was great fun getting there. There's suspense and wonderful bromance moments between Sherlock and Watson and there's some tongue-in-cheek musings and dialogues. Also, kudos to any book that makes me look up multiple new words because I do not know their meanings! It's not perfect: I found the ending too gory and too over the top (the expected general idea was good, but the execution had too many embellishments), and, while I was impressed by the vocabulary, I know that not every single character can or will speak like that at all times. Nonetheless, it was a delightful and thought-provoking ride.

  • Vladimir Ivanov
    2019-04-05 13:45

    Довольно занятная повесть из современной холмсианы, где Великий Детектив наперегонки со стимпанковским механическим компьютером расследует цепочку загадочных убийств в Оксфорде. На страницах мелькают исторические персонажи, включая Гарри Гудини. Холмс демонстрирует неожиданно резкий и неприятный характер. Шутки забавные. Финал очень эффектный.Абсолютно одноразовое чтиво, но идет легко и с интересом.

  • Betsy
    2019-03-28 11:44

    Highly readable story featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson who are challenged by a "thinking engine" after several murders take place. Harry Houdini makes an appearance early on. The solution to the problem is a bit questionable, but I enjoyed reading nevertheless.

  • Mitchell
    2019-04-24 15:16

    Lovegrove is a worthy successor to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Just when you think you have things figured out, he twists slightly. Great read, especially if you are Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Watson fan.

  • Hazel
    2019-04-08 09:38

    46 pages. Enjoyable and well written Sherlock Holmes mystery so far. Holmes stories are not a favourite of mine so I'm going to dnf.

  • Janice
    2019-04-16 17:22

    I figured this one out before Sherlock, which is a little disappointing, but it was an enjoyable read all the way around. I'm really liking this series of Sherlock Holmes stories.

  • Calvin Daniels
    2019-03-31 12:36

    Kind of saw the secret a bit early, and 1/2 the bad guy duo with the other half a lik;ihood.Still enjoyed the journey.

  • Robin
    2019-03-30 13:38

    I love that authors can write new Sherlockian tales that continue to entertain, long after the original stories were written! This author was one of my favorites.

  • Matt
    2019-03-26 11:25

    I really enjoyed this. The book was great leading up to th conclusion. Even though the ending was a bit peculiar, still an enjoyable book

  • Rob Messenger
    2019-04-20 12:28

    Clever, with a twist!

  • Laura
    2019-04-24 09:44

    It is must read it will keep you guessing till the end who the real villain is, but your first guess might not be the right one.