Sherlock Holmes acquires a new client when a beautiful young woman, Isabel Stone, faints on the steps of his Baker Street rooms. She has come to beg his assistance in reclaiming the priceless jewels kept from her by her tyrannical stepfather, Captain Grimbold Pratt. But shortly after agreeing to take her case, Captain Pratt comes to Baker Street, furious that Isabel is trying to deprive him of his fortune. Unsure who to believe, Holmes and his cousin, Dr Henry Vernier, must travel to Pratt’s estate, home to tigers, wolves and murderers, to unravel a family mystery dating back to the Indian Mutiny.
A huge thank you to Titan Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
What I really love about this series is that every book can be read as a standalone and it’s not crucial to the timeline or plot what order you read the books in. I have only read three books in this series so far and I’d definitely like to read more at some point. I couldn’t wait to read The Venerable Tiger as I really loved The Devil and the Four, which is also written by
I said in my reviews for the other two books that Sherlock either wasn’t in the story much or he didn’t make a lot of deductions in the case they were working on. I was really happy to see how involved Sherlock was in this case – he was in almost every scene, every discussion, always turning things over in his mind but refusing to give away his thoughts. I was really looking forward to his big reveal at the end and it did not disappoint! It was extremely satisfying to see him lay everything out, even if I did guess a couple things!
His companion this time was his cousin Henry Vernier and even though he’s similar to John Watson in some ways, he sadly didn’t match Watson’s standards. I actually really missed Watson and wasn’t keen on how Henry was portrayed and thought his character didn’t add much to the story. It’s difficult to express my feelings without spoiling the plot, but I felt Henry was there to serve a particular purpose and I wanted something more from him – though I understand why he acted that way. That’s not to say that I don’t like his character, in fact I first came across him in The Devil and the Four and was more than happy with his interactions with Sherlock. I thought the story worked really well without Watson. I just can’t say the same for this one, unfortunately.
The plot is definitely a slow burner, with most of the action and excitement towards the end of the book. The first half is mainly about building each character – their personalities, their interaction with others and working out who can be trusted. Sherlock is tasked with finding priceless jewels and working out who rightfully owns them. Isabel Stone is portrayed as a timid and rather weak character, whilst her step-father, Captain Grimbold Pratt, is, quite frankly, a brute. He’s the kind of person who shoots first and acts questions later. Also, he owns a tiger and a wolf.
Sherlock has to spend time with each character, working out what makes them tick and come to his own conclusions. He has to pull apart a family mystery and untangle all the lies. It was very interesting watching all the different interactions and while I did guess the main reveal, there was still a few surprises that I wasn’t excepting. I wish there was a bit more excitement in the first half, but I understand that it was necessary to build a picture for each character. I truly did enjoy this story and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Sam writes next!