Jun. 17, 2018

The undying detective is also unending in the tales of his cases!

The Rediscovered Cases of Sherlock Holmes, Volume Three: The Secret Assassin by Arthur Hall

My thanks go out to Steve and Timi at MX Books for their continuing faith in me and the copy of this novel. Maybe someday I will come into money (I don’t know how!) and actually visit Underwood…

At 92 pages this story isn’t quite a novel yet it is a little more than a short story. I would have liked to see volume three and this volume in the same book. This has nothing at all to do with the review, however! In books and short stories, I have always favored quality writing over verbosity. Often flowery language and greatly extended description can make a story seem stuffy or even fake. It is not the case with Arthur Hall!

Hall paints a lively picture of the world of Sherlock Holmes. This book has the essentials of a good Holmes tale. It has a believable villain, a workable Modus Operandi, and a line of reasoning that makes complete sense!

Too often writers of Holmes fiction create bad guys that you can see coming from chapter one so that the reveal is expected. They will set their malefactor on a course of action that makes no sense whatsoever. And way too often trying to explain Holmes’ reasoning requires a suspension of belief.

But this series by Arthur Hall is cast in the same mold as Conan Doyle’s originals. Holmes is the efficient reasoner that allows the crime scene to talk to him. Watson is presented as a firm companion, and not as the comedic relief as many tend to make him. The villain is black-hearted and cunning, able to give Holmes a run for his money.

Holmes takes a case of a woman admitting to a crime. That’s the tidbit you get from me. From this humble beginning, a horrifying string of suspicion leads through dark, bloody shadows, with Holmes never taking his eyes off the prize. I thought the reveal was handled well, and the dangers faced by Holmes and Watson disserve kudos.

I think I will grant this book four stars. There were a few scenes that dragged just a bit.

Quoth the Raven…

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