cover image Sherlock Holmes & the Three Winter Terrors

Sherlock Holmes & the Three Winter Terrors

James Lovegrove. Titan, $19.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-1-789096-71-2

Lovegrove’s clever third novel-length pastiche (after 2020’s Sherlock Holmes & the Beast of the Stapletons) links winter-time mysteries from different years, each involving members of one family. In 1889, Timothy Wragge, a teacher at the preparatory school in Kent he and Watson attended 20 years earlier, reports that Hector Robinson, a boy who was a frequent victim of bullying, was found drowned in the school lake. Despite the headmaster’s belief that Robinson’s death was an accident, Wragge believes Robinson was killed by the two students who routinely tormented him. Others suspect that a witch’s curse placed on a previous owner of the property the school occupies is responsible. In 1890, industrialist Eustace Agius is haunted in his London home by an apparition possibly connected to a tragic fire at his cotton mill that claimed nearly 100 lives. In the final segment, set in 1894, the Agiuses are implicated in a horrific murder that was apparently committed by a cannibal. The solid characterizations match the imaginative plotting. Though this isn’t at the level of Lovegrove’s best work, it’s a strong rebound from his subpar previous outing. (Oct.)