cover image The Treasure of the Poison King: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure

The Treasure of the Poison King: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure

Paul Gilbert. MX Publishing, $14.95 trade paper (178p) ISBN 978-1-78705-786-9

In this enjoyable pastiche from Gilbert (The Illumination of Sherlock Holmes), Menachem Goldman, a shady character involved in London’s jewelry market, consults the Baker Street sleuth after learning of “a huge and hitherto unknown treasure” found in the Aegean Sea. Since the divers who made the discovery are dead, Goldman doesn’t know the treasure’s precise location, and he asks Holmes to use his resources to find it. The detective agrees, his interest piqued by the news that the divers were killed by a master criminal who aspires to be a poison king in the mold of first-century BCE Pontic king Mithradates, reputed to have made himself immune to most toxins by ingesting them. The battle of wits between Holmes and this worthy adversary is suspenseful, though there’s more emphasis on action rather than deduction. Gilbert occasionally indulges in purple prose (“Watson, we must guard against this fiend with such vigilance as we have never employed before!”), but he generally does a solid job of capturing Dr. Watson’s cadences and language. Sherlockians will be intrigued, even though this doesn’t represent Gilbert at his best. (Feb.)