The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock Holmes and the Crusader’s Curse

Stuart Douglas. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (228p) ISBN 978-1-7890-9158-8

In Douglas’s excellent fourth novel-length pastiche (after 2018’s The Improbable Prisoner), Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson travel to Thorpe Manor in Yorkshire at the request of solicitor Faraday Thompson, who is selling the property and its contents after the death of Lord Thorpe. But first, Thompson hopes the detective can locate some missing valuables, which include the Thorp ruby, a jewel supposedly stolen in the Holy Land during the Crusades by an ancestor. According to legend, the ruby’s rightful owners followed the thief back to England, but failed to recover it, despite torturing the nobleman. Since then, the lord’s ghost is reported to haunt Thorpe Manor to preserve the gemstone’s secret location. Prospective bidders for the estate are guests there when one of them is murdered. A snowstorm isolates the manor, setting up a classic closed-circle inquiry. Besides mastering Watson’s narrative style, Douglas successfully conveys the doctor’s friendship with Holmes. This is several levels above the author’s previous efforts and makes the prospect of more welcome. (Apr.)