The Ripper Legacy

David Stuart Davies. Titan, $9.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-783296-59-0

Sherlockians hoping for a new take on Holmes's involvement with Jack the Ripper will be disappointed by this uneven pastiche set in 1895. The opening pages demonstrate how well Davies (The Devil's Promise) can capture the Watsonian idiom and effectively extrapolate from Conan Doyle's original work. Watson refers to his own regrets at being childless and his devastation at the death of his wife by way of introduction to a kidnapping case. Ronald Temple comes to Baker Street for help after his eight-year-old son, William, is abducted in broad daylight in Kensington Gardens by two thugs, a crime witnessed by the boy's mother and nanny. Six days later, the Temples have received no ransom note, nor any other word about William. Despite the paucity of evidence, Holmes finds a clue that leads him to Whitechapel and a revealing conversation with a pub owner. More a thriller than a mystery, this adventure is marred by foolish behavior on the part of a villain and a conclusion that owes more to luck than mental acuity. (July)