The Venerable Tiger

Sam Siciliano. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-789092-69-1

At the outset of Siciliano’s excellent seventh Holmes pastiche (after 2018’s The Devil and the Four), which takes its inspiration from Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” 21-year-old Isabel Stone, who lives with her stepfather, Capt. Grimbold Pratt, calls on Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street. Miss Stone has discovered a note from her late mother stating that Pratt and her father, Maj. Hubert Stone, who were stationed in India together, each returned to England decades ago with a share of a treasure-trove of jewels. After the major died when Miss Stone was five, Pratt married her mother and demanded custody of her mother’s share of the gems. When Miss Stone recently asked Pratt about the gems, the eccentric captain, who maintains an exotic menagerie at his Surrey home, including a tiger, denied their existence. Miss Stone hopes Holmes will help her get her rightful inheritance. Siciliano plants suggestions early on that the new client may not be who she seems and that the story line will deviate from that of “The Speckled Band.” This clever mystery is further proof that Siciliano is one of the best contemporary pasticheurs. (Mar.)