Sherlock Holmes and the Ghosts of Bly and Other New Adventures of the Great Detective
Sherlock Holmes is up to his pipe stem in the title mystery and three bonus adventures thanks to this recently unearthed Dr. Watson account, courtesy of Donald Thomas. To whet our appetite is “The Case of a Boy’s Honour,” whose issue of bullying and class distinction seemed thoroughly modern, though the case is set on the eve of World War I at the Royal Naval Academy. Next, the main event is a baffling ghost story set in the Elizabethan manor house of Bly. A young heir has already been judged a victim of his deranged caretaker, conveniently locked up in the Broadmoor lunatic asylum. It’s up to Holmes and Watson to get to the root of the visions of the walking dead and a second murder. A delightful profile of “Sherlock Holmes the Actor” follows, as a prelude to the baffling “The Case of the Matinee Idol,” a theater-set murder mystery.
It’s always good to see new adventures of the archetypes of Holmes and Watson, and Donald Thomas has fun putting them in The Turn of the Screw and The Winslow Boy territory. As always, what seems is seldom what is as the two strive toward the truth and justice being served. Knowledge and period detail are evident, but not always the heart of setting and characters. Watson’s prose lumbers upon occasion and might have benefited from Holmes’s keener editing hand.