cover image Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead

Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead

George Mann. Titan (, $12.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-781160-01-5

Set in 1889, Mann%E2%80%99s solid steampunk pastiche gives Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson a fantastical mystery to solve. They are consulted by Peter Maugham, whose uncle, Sir Theobald, has just died from a fall down the stairs of his London home. As the only copy of Sir Theobald%E2%80%99s will vanished simultaneously with his death, Peter, whose inheritance hinges on that document, asks Holmes to look into the possibility his uncle was murdered. While the investigation proceeds, London is plagued by a series of burglaries committed by the so-called %E2%80%9Ciron men,%E2%80%9D powerful glowing-eyed machines that display sophisticated intelligence. Most of the sections involving the criminal automatons are told from the perspective of Insp. Charles Bainbridge, who, later in in life, is a key player in Mann%E2%80%99s Victorian fantasy books (The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes, etc.), making this a good entry to that series. The denouement disappoints, but Mann does a decent job of capturing Watson%E2%80%99s narrative voice. (Nov.)