cover image Sherlock Holmes: Masters of Lies

Sherlock Holmes: Masters of Lies

Philip Purser-Hallard. Titan, $15.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-789099-24-9

In 1898, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are summoned by Mycroft Holmes following the apparent suicide of Christopher Bastion, one of the Foreign Office’s most trusted—and most valuable—civil servants, in Purser-Hallard’s stellar third pastiche (after 2020’s Sherlock Holmes: The Spider’s Web). Bastion, who died at home of prussic acid poisoning, left behind a suicide note. The motive for his fatal act seems clear, as evidence suggests that Bastion was recently preparing to sell government secrets to a foreign spy. Mycroft asks his brother to find out to whom Bastion may have leaked sensitive information and the substance of those leaks. But the inquiry takes a different path when Holmes’s inspection of the crime scene points to Bastion’s having been murdered, which in turns leads to his suspicion that a master forger faked the suicide note and possibly the evidence indicating the dead man had betrayed his country. Purser-Hallard’s unusual fair-play puzzle will remind many of the sleight-of-hand novels of Anthony Horowitz. Fans of traditional Holmes stories will hope for more from this versatile author. (May)