REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man by Philip Purser-Hallard

DC15C7C7-8C59-402A-9B31-EFFABF28330BTitle: Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man by Philip Purser-Hallard
Pages: 279
Published by: Titan Books
Publication date: 18th June 2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Paperback
Amazon UK Waterstones


It is 1896, and Sherlock Holmes is investigating a self-proclaimed psychic who disappeared from a locked room, in front of several witnesses.

While attempting to prove the existence of telekinesis to a scientific society, an alleged psychic, Kellway, vanished before their eyes during the experiment. With a large reward at stake, Holmes is convinced Kellway is a charlatan – or he would be, if he had returned to claim his prize. As Holmes and Watson investigate, the case only grows stranger, and they must contend with an interfering “occult detective” and an increasingly deranged cult. But when one of the society members is found dead, events take a far more sinister turn…

My review:

A huge thank you to Titan Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I have read many Sherlock Holmes stories and what really piqued my interest about this one was someone disappearing in a locked room while attempting to prove the existence of telekinesis. I thought it sounded really interesting and I wanted to see how Sherlock would solve this case.

I always scrutinise the portrayal of Sherlock and Watson but I think the author did a great job here. I loved seeing Sherlock’s deductions and I loved how he kept butting heads with Constantine Skinner who was an occult detective, which as you can imagine, didn’t go overly well with Sherlock. They had to learn to tolerate each other and it was pretty funny at times when their paths inevitably crossed.

With other stories I’ve read, I have felt sometimes that Watson didn’t really contribute much or really do anything. However, with this one he does go off on his own quite a lot and helps massively with solving the case which I loved.

Whilst I enjoyed Philip’s interpretation of Sherlock and Watson, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the plot. The Vanishing Man wasn’t my favourite story due to the terminology/language that was used but I think this is more me than the author. I’ve always struggled with science and I vastly underestimated how much would be involved with this story. There’s a lot of talk about planets, Venus in particular, philosophy and whatever etheric vibrations are. This is just to name a few – there’s plenty more and it really confused me! I didn’t have a clue what anyone was talking about and struggled through the first 100 or so pages until I finally started enjoying it. If that is something you enjoy then of course I think this would be a good fit for you!

Another thing I struggled with was the characters. I thought there was too many to keep track of and I kept getting confused with who was who when Sherlock was interviewing everyone. It was a group of men in what they called The Society Committee and none of them particularly stood out to me so it was very easy to confuse them.

So this was unfortunately not one of my favourite stories but once I got past the first 100 pages, I really started enjoying it and there was lots more investigating by Sherlock and Watson. I loved the big reveal at the end and the explanation for how Sherlock managed to solve this case.

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