James Lovegrove returns to the shadows and menace of Victorian England and presents another case for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as they unravel the mystery of The Beast of the Stapletons.
An old friend of Sir Henry Baskerville’s shows up at 221 B Baker Street. It has been five years since Holmes and Watson faced the dangers of Dartmoor in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Sir Henry had gotten married and produced an heir, enjoying some happiness in his life after a terrifying start to his migration from North America. The wife has recently been found dead with her blood drained. A giant moth-like creature is seen hovering over the lands. Sir Henry has slipped into madness. Watson is hesitant to return to the fray back in Dartmoor, so Holmes is accompanied by an untried assistant. I will just say that Watson does join in the action a bit later, so don’t judge him too harshly here.
I usually am not overly find of these pastiche writers revisiting Arthur Conan Doyle’s previous writing. I also get a little worn out with Holmes getting wrapped up with apparent supernatural situations. This story actually has most of the elements I tend to criticize in these latest Holmes stories, however Lovegrove somehow miraculously managed to make me enjoy this contribution this time.
Many familiar characters from Doyle’s original novel return, but the story still manages to feel pretty new. I am not sure if a giant moth is the creature I would have chosen to be the latest menace bedeviling Sir Henry, but it ends up making a sort of sense when one remembers that the villain from the original story was a naturalist and studied butterflies and moths.
Lovegrove pulled off some interesting twists in this latest mystery. Holmes is quite at his best when it coms to his deductive powers. I don’t know if I would go so far to say that it felt just like Doyle wrote this one himself as one of those review blurbs state, but I do know that I ended up finding more enjoyment than I expected.
Next up is a novel written by a self-published author named David E. Huntley. Huntley gives us a glimpse of the early days of the Cold War in Deathwatch Beetle.