Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-11-24
- Reviewer: Staff
Lovegrove's second Holmes pastiche is more traditional than its steampunk predecessor, 2013's The Stuff of Nightmares, and is mostly successful at portraying Holmes and Watson in character. In 1913, the doctor visits his retired friend on the Sussex Downs, where the pair happen upon the corpse of Patrick Mallinson, the victim of a fall from a great height. While the man's father, Craig, a mining magnate, believes that Patrick took his own life, he asks Holmes to determine the truth to avoid damage to his business from rumors that something else had happened. Elizabeth Vandenbergh, Patrick's lover, reveals that he had some Egyptian hieroglyphs tattooed on his body, raising the possibility that his death was the work of a secret and sinister society. The chapter titles sometimes spoil what's to come, and Lovegrove does strike some false notes. For example, Holmes's use of a magnifying lens to look for evidence is cited by Watson as evidence of his declining vision, although Conan Doyle had a much younger Holmes use such an aid in A Study in Scarlet. Still, the mystery and its solution are creative ones. (June)