PUBLISHED BY COLLINS CRIME CLUB IN HARDBACK, AUDIO AND EBOOK ON 10TH OCTOBER 2019.
After Art in the Blood and Unquiet Spirits, Holmes and Watson are back in the third of Bonnie MacBird’s critically acclaimed Sherlock Holmes Adventures, written in the tradition of Conan Doyle himself. It’s 1890 and the newly famous Sherlock Holmes faces his worst adversary to date – a diabolical villain bent on destroying some of London’s most admired public figures in particularly gruesome ways. A further puzzle is that suicide closely attends each of the murders. As he tracks the killer through vast and seething London, Holmes finds himself battling both an envious Scotland Yard and a critical press as he follows a complex trail from performers to princes, anarchists to aesthetes. But when his brother Mycroft disappears, apparently the victim of murder, even those loyal to Holmes begin to wonder how close to the flames he has travelled. Has Sherlock Holmes himself made a deal with the devil?
This is the third book in this Sherlock Holmes series and I think the author has done a good job of keeping elements true to the original Conan Doyle stories. It is written as recounted by Watson and the familiar characters are all there with additions of interesting and fun new ones.
The story takes place in November of 1890 as we read the account of Dr John Watson. A number of high profile murders are happening across the city and Holmes is being hounded by a news reporter called Gabriel Zanders, hellbent on blackening Holmes’ name and reputation. Concerned for his friend, and with Mary off to the Cotswolds he decides to pay a visit to 221b Baker Street.
I enjoyed this story and felt it kept itself very true to the original style. The parts of Watson are well written and the portrayal of Holmes with his disregard for a healthy eating and sleeping pattern, along with his notorious use of Morphine and other drugs are all there in glorious detail. Perhaps the authors experience in theatre and film came into play as Holmes theatrical style and behaviour was well told.
The relationships between Holmes and Mycroft and Watson and Mycroft are well described with that competitiveness between the brothers and Watson’s unease around what Mycroft is capable of are true to form. You also meet again with the character of Jean Vidocq. We are also introduced to some new characters such as Heffie whom I thought was a delightful character adding warmth and humour to the story.
The historical information dotted throughout the book added wonderfully to the stories time and place highlighting events, places and political situations happening in London at the time. Some not so very different from now! The inclusion of real life characters and objects such as Dr James Duncan and the ‘Nippers’ made for nice additions. I also enjoyed reading the quotations at the beginning of each new part.
The story has a great pace with lots of twists and turns, and the enjoyably familiar dashing here and there of Holmes with Watson trailing in his wake are all there. It was an enjoyable story and I will definitely be looking at reading the other books.
Bonnie MacBird was born and raised in San Francisco and fell in love with Sherlock Holmes by reading the canon at age ten. Her long Hollywood career includes feature film development exec at Universal, the original screenplay for the movie TRON, three Emmy Awards for documentary writing and producing, numerous produced plays and musicals, and theatre credits as an actor and director.
In addition to her work in entertainment, Bonnie teaches a popular screenwriting class at UCLA Extension, as well as being an accomplished water colourists. She is a regular speaker internationally on writing creatively, and Sherlock Holmes. She lives in Los Angeles and London.
Thank you to Jane Acton @janeacron_pr for my lovely hardback ARC.