Art in the Blood

Written by Bonnie Macbird
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

“A Sherlock Holmes Adventure” is the subtitle of this second in a series that owes to the small and big screen interpretations of Arthur Conan Doyle as well as to the master himself. The setting is the winter of 1888-89. Doctor Watson finds his 35-year-old friend depressed and back on cocaine after his Ripper investigation. Then a letter arrives from a French singer, a character whose intelligence and perception match her beauty on every page. Her ten-year-old son, fathered and being raised by an English lord, is missing. The game’s afoot.

The duo is soon on the way to Paris, where an art theft of the priceless Marseilles Nike sculpture begins to run a convergent course with the case, thanks to the singer’s lover – a French rival detective. Back in England, murders of silk mill worker children add yet another element to baffling events.

Clear writing, a breakneck pace, atmospheric description and memorable characters make up for occasional lapses that sound too contemporary (“game plan,” “fill me in,” “quite unique”). A vulnerable and deep-feeling Sherlock Holmes needs both his Watson and his team of allies and rivals to crack this complex, intriguing and riveting case.