cover image The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Web Weaver

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Web Weaver

Sam Siciliano. Titan (www.titanbooks.com), $9.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-85768-698-5

Despite some gratuitous shots at Dr. Watson, Siciliano's second pastiche is an improvement over his first, The Angel of the Opera, presenting a non-canonical view of Holmes that remains persuasive. Once again, the narrator is another doctor, Holmes' cousin Henry Vernier. On a visit by Vernier to Baker Street, Holmes reveals that "Watson's stories to the contrary, most crimes and criminals are stupid," and that the Moriarty of "The Final Problem" was a "complete fiction." Notwithstanding that, the detective has begun to believe that a real mastermind is at work behind the scenes of London crime. Holmes is consulted by Donald Wheelwright, heir to a potted meat business, who wants him to look into an incident from two years earlier; a female gypsy crashed a society ball, and cursed the attendees with a prophesy of ruin and early death, which preceded at least one violent death. The author's alterations in Holmes' personality might have had more power with Watson as storyteller, but there are enough positives to make this enjoyable. (Jan.)