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About Richard T. Ryan
A lifelong Sherlockian, Richard Ryan is the author of "The Official Sherlock Holmes Trivia Book" as well as a book on Agatha Christie trivia. His first two novels, "The Vatican Cameos: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure," and "The Stone of Destiny: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure" are available from MX Publishing, London. His third novel "The Druid of Death: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure" is due out in hardcover Sept. 17 from MX and will be available as a paperback on October 17.
He obtained his master's degree from the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in medieval literature; he is a die-hard fan of the Fighting Irish -- it doesn't matter what sport.
He has been happily married for 40 years and is the proud father of two children.
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However, after pledging to do his utmost for "King and Country," Holmes suddenly finds himself overwhelmed by an onslaught of cases. An old friend requests his assistance in recovering a priceless manuscript which has gone missing from the British Museum.
Accused of accepting bribes from a smuggling ring, Inspector Lestrade, who has been suspended from Scotland Yard, turns to Holmes for help. Add in a beautiful newlywed who claims her husband is trying to murder her, and it is easy to see why Watson compares the tasks confronting his friend to the Labours of Hercules.
From a secret pied-à-terre in the City of Lights, to the Rare Book Room in the British Museum, to the Whispering Gallery in St. Paul's Cathedral, to the waterfront along the Thames, Holmes and Watson find themselves on the trail of an elusive quarry for whom murder is merely another move in an elaborate game of cat-and-mouse.
Upon arriving at the famed site, Holmes discovers the body of a young woman. On her forehead, painted in blood, is a druidic symbol. On her side, also in blood, is a message written in a strange language that neither Holmes nor Lestrade can decipher. The girl was also eviscerated and her organs placed around her body. As a final touch, branches from yew trees had been artistically arranged around the corpse.
Holmes senses a malevolent force at work, but without data, he is powerless. As the weeks pass, he slowly gathers information about the ancient druids and Celtic mythology and begins to assemble a small army of experts to assist him.
Expecting the killer to strike again on the summer solstice, Holmes and Watson travel to the Nine Ladies in Derbyshire, the site of another stone circle that harkens to druidic times. While they are holding their vigil, Lestrade and his men are off keeping watch over the stone circles at Avebury and several other locations.
The Great Detective’s worst fears are realized when on the morning of the summer solstice, he learns that the body of a young man has been discovered in the eye of the White Horse of Uffington. Like the first victim, he too has been marked with a druidic symbol and his body bears a message. Aside from the symbol and the message, the only other difference appears to be that his body and organs have been surrounded by willow branches.
Realizing full well that a maniac reminiscent of the Ripper is on the loose, Holmes and Watson find themselves in a race against time as they try to locate the cult, identify the killer and prevent another tragedy.