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Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Volume 8 Paperback – April 5, 2016
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The latest volume of this continuing series from Airship 27 features three novellas of Sherlock Holmes by modern pulp authors. In these stories, Holmes is up against seemingly impossible cases. There is a hint of the uncanny, perhaps the supernatural. But Holmes stands firm on science—no ghosts need apply!
“Mysteries of the Buried God” by IA Watson
Excavations beneath the small, obscure church of St. Edith-in the-field in a bystreet off of Fleet Street, London have disclosed a hidden crypt. Inside is the long dead body of a man. Seated upon a stone chair, his remains are shackled to the massive rock. There is a sword driven through the remains.
The problem is that the crypt was sealed from the inside. As there seems to be no exit, how was this accomplished? The crypt appears to show signs of being a temple to Mithris, one of several that would prove to be discovered in the future. Add this to the fact that the Professor in charge of the dig has gone missing, and you have a case for Sherlock Holmes.
I found the story well written and interesting. I give it four stars.
“The Adventure of the Charwick Ghost” by Raymond Lovato
Inspector Lestrade brings this case to 221B. Vice Admiral Charwick is discovered murdered inside his locked study. There is no apparent way that an intruder could get in as the study is on the upper floor. A window is found unlatched, but there are no marks of a ladder being used, and the length required would be very heavy to carry.
There are tales of a family curse and legend—The Charwick Ghost. Holmes refuses to believe in the supernatural, and seeks a more mundane answer. There is the ner-do-well nephew who turns up at once looking for an inheritance to pay off his gambling debts. There is also a group of Gypsies that were thrown of the property by the Police recently. And there is the tale of a young Gypsy boy who saw fairies and a giant with disappearing horses coming through the woods…
The story moves at break-neck pace and is really quite good. I give it four stars.
“The Adventure of the Vampire’s Vengeance” by Aaron Smith
Inspector Gregson brings this case to Sherlock Holmes. John Harper has been horribly slain in his study by having a wooden spigot jammed into his jugular, and blood is drained on the floor. Holmes and Watson find a discrepancy in the amount of blood. Some has obviously been taken from the room in some sort of container.
Before they can investigate further, blustering Superintendent Ernest Rawles puts an end to Holmes’ involvement in the case. He even threatens Gregson with a demotion back to walking a beat. The subsequent murder of Dr. Jacob Stewart is chillingly similar— the difference being almost all of the blood was taken. Then there are the three buckets of pig’s blood stolen from a local farmer…
This story wins Best-in-book laurels from me! The idea is so good that I hope to have not given away too much with my deliberate short synopsis. This story is worth five stars!
Quoth the Raven…
My qualms with this particular set of stories revolves around language. The Holmes books, for the most part, are written in English. I suffer a disadvantage in that I only speak, read, and write American. My complaint isn't necessarily about different spellings. For example, I have no problems is 'plow' is spelled 'plough.' There are a few things I would point out to the writers of these stories.
--Any style guide will clearly indicate that it's and its, although similar, have different meanings and uses.
--An indication that Holmes "poured (sic) over an ancient manuscript) makes you wonder why he wanted to soak it.
There are others but my point is made. Additionally, the writers could do nicce things for their hapless American brethren by providing approximate equivalents for monetary values. Money changing hands in units of quids, Sovereigns, shillings and such have limited impacts. A tremendous amount could change hands in a story leaving us Yanks none the wiser. Possibly a glossary where it is explained that a said British monetary unit equates to about this much in American terms. Give the Colonials a hand here.