I read this novel within the past ten years. It seemed to be written recently.

The main characters are very obviously Holmes and Watson but they have different names. London is not called London. They live at 221B but it is not Baker St.

Sherlock Holmes is a woman, she is a sorceress.Doctor Watson is a trans man, he has left the army due to an injury.

Watson comes from either a different planet or a different dimension. When he was a child there was a revolution in his home. It was ruled by an evil dictator. After the coup it is ruled by a very strict religous group. Dr Watson's parents supported this religious group in secret before the revolution.

When in the army Watson was involved with fighting a great evil in yet another dimension.

Much of the city they live in is underwater and inhabited by intelligent aquatic lifeforms. Humans put a worm in their bodies to help them travel underwater.

There are a great number of supernatural beings in the story. Many are evil.

Their case involves helping a former girlfriend of the Sherlock Holmes eqivalent.

Watson's equivalent tells the story. He is shocked at accidentally seeing a lady's ankle. He always censors any bad language people use and writes a euphemism, explaining that he is not quoting the exact words used to protect his gentle readers.

  • 1
    You may also enjoy the 2019 novel The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie, which similarly interprets the Holmes milieu through a lens of gender-bent queerness, including a Watson occupying, if I recall correctly, a blurry area between hard butch and trans-masculine.
    – Lexible
    Mar 17 at 22:21
  • Broargh........
    – Gray Sheep
    Mar 17 at 22:38
  • @Lexible as I recall, The Raven Tower is a Hamlet retelling? Mar 17 at 23:11
  • 2
    @KernelPanic OMG, I had a total brain fart: you are correct that The Raven Tower is not what I described (although it is a good novel). I was actually thinking of Sarah Monette/Katherine Addison's The Angel of the Crows when I wrote about "Holmes milieu through a lens of gender-bent queerness, including a Watson occupying, if I recall correctly, a blurry area between hard butch and trans-masculine". I blame corvids for my blip. :) Apologies to all for the confusion.
    – Lexible
    Mar 18 at 16:35
  • 1
    @Lexible two corvid-related reimaginings of famous stories with the audience surrogate character written as transmasc... I can see the confusion! Mar 19 at 12:11

1 Answer 1


The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall. It was published in 2019.

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Upon returning to the city of Khelathra-Ven after five years fighting a war in another universe, Captain John Wyndham finds himself looking for somewhere to live, and expediency forces him to take lodgings at 221b Martyrs Walk. His new housemate is Ms. Shaharazad Haas, a consulting sorceress of mercurial temperament and dark reputation.

When Ms. Haas is enlisted to solve a case of blackmail against one of her former lovers, Miss Eirene Viola, Captain Wyndham is drawn into a mystery that leads him from the salons of the literary set to the drowned back-alleys of Ven and even to a prison cell in lost Carcosa. Along the way he is beset by criminals, menaced by pirates, molested by vampires, almost devoured by mad gods, and called upon to punch a shark.

In chapter 1 Wyndham describes his origins as:

I was born in the Kingdom of Ey during the four hundred and sixty-seventh year of the reign of the Witch King Iustinian. My earliest memory of childhood is being summoned to sing “Alas! Must I in Torments Dwell” for one of my parents’ friends. Such gatherings were frequent at that time and I never thought to question their purpose, though they occurred always after nightfall and were conducted with an air of peculiar secrecy. In any case, I performed poorly, and my father was disappointed, as he so often was.

As for my father himself, I will simply say that he was a man of strong principles and unswerving faith. He fought valiantly for his beliefs and, unlike so many of his contemporaries, practised in private what he espoused in public. Although his role in the revolution and subsequent part in the formation of the Commonwealth afforded him great power and influence, we continued to live simply and spend our days in contemplation of the Creator’s mercy and thankfulness for His blessings.

which matches your description, though it doesn't describe the religious revolution in detail. Maybe that is covered in a later part of the book that I have not found yet.


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