cover image Sherlock Holmes & the Beast of the Stapletons

Sherlock Holmes & the Beast of the Stapletons

James Lovegrove. Titan, $19.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-789094-69-5

In 1894, five years after the events of The Hound of the Baskervilles, a terrifying creature again plagues Sir Henry Baskerville in Lovegrove’s uneven second traditional novel-length pastiche (after 2019’s Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon). A huge moth with glaring red eyes has been spotted on Dartmoor and is believed responsible for draining blood from sheep. Holmes is alerted to his former client’s new woes by Benjamin Grier, an African American friend of Sir Henry’s, who fears for the baronet’s mental and physical health after being warned away from Baskerville Hall at gunpoint. Watson declines to join Holmes on the moor, because of his lingering fear from his encounter with the hound. Holmes thus ends up reporting his findings to Watson. This artful inversion of the structure of Conan Doyle’s novel will please Sherlockians; those same Sherlockians, however, will be disappointed in the solution to the mystery and Watson’s uncharacteristic behavior at the climax. Those looking for a good riff on one of the most iconic mysteries of all time will be better off with Sam Siciliano’s The Grimswell Curse. (Sept.)