It is 1884, and when a fellow landlady finds her lodger poisoned, Mrs Hudson turns to Sherlock Holmes.
The police suspect the landlady of murder, but Mrs Hudson insists that her friend is innocent. The companions discover that the lodger, a civil servant recently returned from India, was living in almost complete seclusion, and that his last act was to scrawl a mysterious message on a scrap of paper. The riddles pile up as aged big game hunger Allan Quartermain is spotted at the scene of the crime when Holmes and Watson investigate. The famous man of mind and the legendary man of acton will make an unlikely team in a case of corruption, revenge, and what can only be described as magic…
A huge thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of this book to review!
I really enjoyed this story, it was interesting how it was completely shrouded in mystery and we were confronted with a murder that wasn’t as straightforward as everyone believed it to be. It turned into something incredibly dark and sinister with a lot of secrets that had to be uncovered. Sherlock was confronted with the possibility that magic had something to do with this murder and that made the plot really intriguing for me.
I loved the portrayal of Sherlock and Watson. It was great seeing Sherlock’s famous deductions again and his explanations about how he had pieced it all together. Whilst I did really enjoy Watson’s character, I didn’t feel like he did or contributed much and most of the time it felt like he was in the way which was disappointing. Allan Quartermain was certainly a match for Sherlock and they both were asking the right questions but I spent most of the time wondering what Watson was doing.
I had no idea who Allan Quartermain was but he seemed a pretty interesting character with a great backstory. I liked how he became a huge part of the story and I liked seeing him team up with Sherlock and Watson to solve the case. It was interesting having someone being able to outsmart Sherlock and he turned out to be a great ally. Plus it helped that he was a hunter so he was just charging right in with no fear!
I was really impressed with the plot, the author went into a lot of detail and it was really creative how he brought magic into the story. Towards the end I did start to lose interest though because it was that typical scene when the hero confronts the villain and then the villain has a massive monologue about how oh-so-clever they are. I got really bored of the villain just going on and on. There was zero action it was just endless talking. So I’d have preferred a better or more exciting ending because it wasn’t a great way to end the murder mystery.
While this wasn’t my favourite Sherlock Holmes story, it was still pretty great and a really intriguing story. It had me guessing at every turn of the page what was going to happen next and it left me satisfied as the ending was very neatly wrapped up. I liked the addition of the afterword where he goes into more detail about Quartermain. I finally found out that he’s actually a book character! So that’s cool!