The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Star of India by Carole Bugge
|The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Star of India by Carole Bugge|
|Genre: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A hard-to-find Holmes story, which brings back Moriarty but with slightly unsatisfactory results, is another highlight of Titan's reissue brand.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: August 2011|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
A woman with a distinguished scent about her appears flustered at a concert recital. A famous landlady gets kidnapped while on an innocent holiday to the west country. A malformed, brilliant modern-day alchemist gets murdered. There is only one person, who famously went over a certain Alpine waterfall, who could piece all this and more into a threat to the Royalty and Empire itself. But there is also only one person, who famously seemed to have stayed dead in going over the same Alpine waterfall, with the strength of mind to put the whole game into play.
Titan Books' chain of 'further adventures' for Sherlock Holmes, which has been going for longer than I thought, offers us another reprint, this time from 1997. And unlike the last one of these I was privileged to review, The Peerless Peer, by Philip Jose Farmer, this is a straight take on a tale from Holmes and Watson's hectic life, from 1894. It's more than competent in conveying the real, rich style of Conan Doyle, with embellished, but not overdone, writing suited to the period.
Where it might have got a greater score from me is in some of its convictions. I wasn't convinced completely by the somewhat cagey way Holmes decides Moriarty (for it is he I mentioned as the second man over the Reichenbach falls), has resurrected himself, and is the cause of the current game afoot. The clues he uses, a somewhat showy chess metaphor not satisfactorily explained, are a little pointless, and the combination of Holmes, Watson, Holmes' brother Mycroft and more, all sat in a way that didn't quite gel with me.
What is a lot better is the plot, which as I suggest builds very amenably from disparate elements into a larger adventure, beginning with the domestic (with apologies to Mrs Hudson, who does a lot more than just act as domestic) and escalating into something of a much more elaborate scope. There are also humorous bits (namely Watson getting smitten yet again by the ladies), while the finest piece comes late on, with Holmes deciding he and his nemesis are vehicles with very similar engines.
It's a pity then that a lot of the time we can see the instances of Holmes' brilliance too easily - we learn too readily to tell when he's inviting a character to say something incriminating, for example; also we can spot the mole a mile off, as well as a couple of contrivances. Clearly, Ms Bugge is not on a par with the genius of Holmes' original creator, but that's not to say she hasn't absorbed enough of his brilliance, and has added that to a mostly well-fashioned little saga. It's not the best revisiting of this world, but is still recommended to those who seek new Holmes to visit.
I must again thank Titan for our review copy.
The most forensic look at Holmes' real-life world we know of is Close to Holmes: A Look at the Connections Between Historical London, Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Alistair Duncan.
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