Book Review: Forgery, Murder, and Lies Keep Sherlock Holmes Busy

Masters of Lies is a Sherlock Holmes written by Philip Purser-Hallard. It is a continuation in the long running series of novels published by Titan Books. Of course, Holmes and Dr. John Watson are the creation of the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but scores of authors have written their own contributions to the efforts to keep the cases in fresh supply. Many of them have been satisfactory while others have fallen short.

This adventure takes place in 1898, and Holmes and Watson are asked to look into what at first appears to be the suicide of a senior civil servant. Mycroft Holmes believes there is something more, and his younger brother soon is on the trail of a lethal forgery ring. Watson though begins noting some unusual behaviors exhibited by his brilliant friend. Can even the reader trust that the whole truth is being told? There comes a point where Holmes’s investigation has his own brother in the crosshairs. Just as matters are coming to a violent climax, the truth of the account narrated by Watson himself comes into question.

Finally, the Titan Books series gets a solid nod of approval from this occasionally humble blogger. There are no curses or missing jewels to find here. There is the business of Holmes behaving a bit more brusquely and at times more violently than usual, but that has a reasonable explanation by the end. The twist toward the end of the novel is actually rather clever but should probably not be used again. The story was well presented and really kept to the theme of really not being able to trust what is thought to be known.

This latest effort by Purser-Hallard was actually quite enjoyable in spite of the literary sleight of hand.

Next up, I will be returning to a favorite author of mine, although I am reading the first in a series not yet explored by me. Ali Reynolds has been around for quite a few years now, but I just had not gotten around to getting to know her. I have finally found the first novel, Edge of Evil, written by J.A. Jance.

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