cover image Sherlock Holmes and the Crowned Heads of Europe

Sherlock Holmes and the Crowned Heads of Europe

Thomas A. Turley. MX Publishing, $14.95 trade paper (314p) ISBN 978-1-78705-771-5

Turley debuts with a superior collection of four interconnected novellas involving Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in intelligence work on behalf of the British government. In the most memorable entry, “The Adventure of the Inconvenient Heir-Apparent,” Empress Elisabeth of Austria invites Holmes to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1898 in the hope the detective can clear up the circumstances of the deaths of her son, Rudolf, and his mistress nine years earlier, a tragedy generally regarded as a murder-suicide. The solution Holmes arrives at is grounded in the political tensions roiling the Austro-Hungarian empire at the time. In “The Case of the Dying Emperor,” the Baker Street duo travel in 1888 to Charlottenburg, Germany, after a controversy arises over the appropriate medical treatment for Emperor Frederick III, pitting his country’s doctors against the eminent British laryngologist supposedly called in by his spouse, a daughter of Queen Victoria; the outcome places Kaiser Wilhelm in power. Besides convincingly capturing Watson’s voice, Turley offers a plausible explanation for each historical mystery and keeps readers engaged, despite stating at the outset that all four cases lack definitive resolutions. Sherlockians will welcome more such volumes from this gifted author. (June)