“The Vanishing Man” is a new Sherlock Holmes novel written by Philip Purser-Hallard and is the latest in the range from Titan Books.
I get a little excited when I see an unfamiliar name contribute to the Sherlock Holmes pastiches because I hope that someone will do something other than have him debunk some supernatural event like a Scooby-Doo episode. However, the pattern continues. In this installment, a challenge is made to a scientific society studying the potential for telekinesis. A man apparently vanishes before the eyes of several people in a locked room and is said to have transported himself to the planet Venus. Sherlock Holmes is engaged alongside the stalwart Dr. John Watson to verify the veracity of the miracle or determine if something shady is afoot. Of course, one of the society members ends up in the morgue which makes the case a bit more intriguing for Holmes.
The novel is fine. Purser-Hallard is a competent writer and does well enough with capturing most of Holmes’ most obvious traits. There is plenty of witty rudeness to go along with the stupefying deductions. My frustration is that it continues this never-ending trend of having Holmes encounter something that may or may not be supernatural, and he usually has to debunk some extraordinary event or deal with otherworldly realms. Arthur Conan Doyle did not have his creation deal with the occult or some super-duper villainous magician every week. Anyway, I did manage to stay pretty well engaged, but I am a Sherlock fan through and through so I am an easy mark. In spite of the extraordinary events depicted, the story itself was just more of the same from this range of pastiche Holmes works.
Next up, Agatha Christie introduces readers to “The Unexpected Guest”. This was actually a play she had written that was adapted into a novel by Charles Osborn.