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3.4 out of 5 stars
Sherlock Holmes and the Affair in Transylvania
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Not at all what I expected it to be, this relatively unknown little book proved to be an absolutely enthralling and atmospheric read - it's an actual horror story that managed to convey an eerie mood throughout while never stepping a toe out of character. Holmes' humour was captured perfectly and O'Hara's Watsonian 'voice' is truly one of the most strikingly accurate I've encountered. He has the rare ability to transport the reader into the setting with his authentic Victorian tone, and for that alone I was left impressed.

There are times this became a bit predictable and slightly tedious, as it followed so closely the plot line of 'Dracula' that I was able to anticipate what happens next, and honestly, that did detract from my enjoyment somewhat. But it's a testament to how well done this was that it's still so chilling, and the usage of Holmes and Watson in place of omitted characters such as Van Helsing was clever and more importantly, believable. Ultimately, this was not only a great Holmes story but an actual gothic horror that made for a wonderfully chilling bit of late night reading.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Gerry O'Hara's novel does not deviate much from the Bram Stoker plot with which most readers are probably familiar, and so consequently, there will not be a lot in the way of surprises. But the influence of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson changes the tenor of the story dramatically, and O'Hara skillfully uses the Detective and Doctor to both fill in for missing characters, and also contribute to the story in ways that the original characters could not do. O'Hara's novel is a beautiful revival, charmingly illustrated, and an elegant contribution to the ranks of Sherlock Holmes versus Count Dracula pastiches.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Sherlock Holmes and the Affair in Transylvania" by Gerry O'Hara is both idiosyncratic and entertaining. As you might guess, Mr O'Hara pits Holmes and Watson against Count Dracula, but in a different way from his predecessors, Loren D Estleman and David Stuart Davies. Although great chunks of Bram Stoker's text remain, his story has been rewritten to exclude Professor Van Helsing, and various other characters are reimagined. Mina is now Watson's niece, married to a Romanian named Janos. Lucy is the daughter of Dr Westenra, who supervises an asylum in Transylvania, where all the events occur. Surprisingly, this is Gerry O'Hara's first book, after a long career as writer and director in film and television (he wrote the story for "Sherlock Holmes and the Incident at Victoria Falls", so he's not new to Holmes).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is not the very best Holmes/Dracula crossover I have read, but it certainly is the most innovative. The author takes the Dracula story and rebuilds it with a new locale, different characters, and the replacement of Van Helsing with Holmes and Watson, (and a mysterious monk). The core essence of the tale of the vampire lord remains the same, his famous victims haunt the pages of this novel, and the frantic search for the Count's hiding places gives the reader the thrill of the chase! I would certainly recommend this book to all people who love tales of the Great Detective and also those who love tales of the ultimate vampire lord!

Quoth the Raven...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The "new" Sherlock Holmes books are of varying quality. This one is better than most. Quite a lively book, true to the detective's tradition, good science and philosophy, and thoughtful. One of the charming characteristics is Watson's internal grumbling at Holmes. Literary style is smooth and Victorian details harmonious. I can recommend this one!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
This novel is best described as the answer to the question "What would have happened if Count Dracula had run into Sherlock Holmes before the events described in Bram Stoker's 'Dracula?'"

Doctor Watson receives a note from his niece, Mina, while he and Holmes were returning from an investigation in Romania made at the request of Her Majesty's Government. As Mina and her husband lived in Budapest, Holmes and Watson were able to stop over on their way back to London. Mina told them that her husband, Janos, a lawyer, had disappeared while making a visit to a client in Transylvania and was long overdue. Holmes and Watson begin their investigation in Budapest and events proceed from there.

Of course, this story requires that Holmes dispense with his "No ghosts wanted here" rule and bizarre events come in from all directions. Wolves, bats and shadow creatures abound, with most of the action taking place in Budapest. Janos' cousin Lucy and her fiancé become involved and many of the events take place at or near the Asylum run by her father, Dr. Westenra.

Unfortunately, the action is a bit slow moving and the characters are relatively flat, so I did not enjoy the story. For people who wish to take the vampires of Bram Stoker's imagination seriously, this book may hold more appeal than it did for me. I also missed the Holmes of the Canon with Dr. Watson marveling at his deductions and the police being confounded by his insights. The police in this tale are co-operative, Watson spends most of his time in deep dread and Holmes is busy reading old texts of doubtful use at every available moment.

This book does have the advantage of good editing. I found only a few, minor errors in spelling and usage.

Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, January 2012
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I was prepared to dislike this book. How many times, the Hound of the Baskervilles comes to mind, did we hear Holmes scoff at superstition? What I wasn't prepared for was becoming immediately engrossed in how Holmes and Watson would deal with Count Dracula. While it could easily have been Bram Stoker with different characters, there was a new adventure with familiar characters. I found it to be a quick and very enjoyable literary frolic.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
As a compulsive Sherlock Holmes fan I was very disappointed by this book. The original books place Sherlock squarely in the middle of the action and there is never any doubt as to who is pulling the strings and driving the case. In this book Sherlock appears as a pale shadow, almost a bit player. Missing are the flashes of insight, the slightly eccentric behavior and the impatience with lesser mortals. Instead the story seems to control him and he is simply "along for the ride". While not spoiling the conclusion for those who are brave enough to plow their way through this tedious book, a whimper rather than a bang would best describe it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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This book lacks the tone of Watson, the wonder of Holmes and the horror of Stoker. It is Dracula told as if Holmes were Van Helsing. It doesn't work. Neither does the change of setting. If you haven't read Dracula, I'd give it maybe a 2 and a half stars but you'd be better off reading Stoker's original. This is an amateur attempt at a cute concept which is beyond the author's abilities. If you have read Dracula, don't bother with this. Suspense is sadly lacking for the parallels are often too exact. This does not mean that Holmes can't be modified to fit another storyline. Estleman did so with Dracula and later Jekyll and Hyde. Queen brought in Jack the Ripper. All with moderate to better success. Mack Reynolds has him meeting an alien; Wellman a Martian invasion. But all of these people are masters of their genres. O'Hara is not. Dibben went way too far by making Holmes the Ripper. (There, I've spoiled that one! Good! The book was an abomination!) Exit Sherlock Holmes could have been the ultimate blasphemy but Hall pulls it off beautifully. No, don't waste your money on this one. There are lots of good Holmes pastiches out there by people who know what they're doing. This isn't one of them.
Note: I am not a purist. One of my favorites is Stouts essay, "Watson Was a Woman" which infuriated so many. But Stout was a pro and pulled it off, hilariously. This book falls flat, so flat that no metaphor will do. Sorry. (Which is what the book is)
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on February 11, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is nothing but a hollow and static retelling of the Dracula story, with Holmes taking the part of Van Helsing, if Van Helsing just happened to be dragged into the affair because Mina was his best friend's niece. Yes, in this story, Mina is Dr. Watson's niece, and Holmes never believed in vampires before actually seeing Dracula in action.

Even the best Holmes/Dracula stories seem to me to be ultimately futile, and this is definitely not one of the best. The story follows the original slavishly, there's not a lot of deducing for Holmes to do, there are no great moments that highlight the long and warm relationship between Holmes and Watson (sometimes these can be the best part of a Holmes story); and with no mystery, no deductions and no camaraderie, how is this a Holmes story? To me, it's not. And by removing Van Helsing, I think the story loses quite a bit. I can't even understand why the author felt he had to write this -- I don't see that he added anything of his own to the tale.

To be blunt, this has been done before and it's been handled much more deftly. If you really want to read a Holmes/Dracula story, I suggest David S. Davies's "The Tangled Skein."
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