cover image Sherlock Holmes & the Twelve Thefts of Christmas

Sherlock Holmes & the Twelve Thefts of Christmas

Tim Major. Titan, $19.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-803361-91-8

Set in December 1890, Major’s disappointing third Sherlock Holmes pastiche (after The Defaced Men) opens with Holmes receiving a gift of two theater tickets, ostensibly from former client Matthew Jacchus, a dishonest jeweler who refused to pay the detective despite Holmes having cleared him of a forgery charge. Holmes’s suspicion that the tickets didn’t come from Jacchus is borne out by events, as his attendance at the theater turns out to be the start of a battle of wits with Irene Adler, who begins a series of odd thefts by stealing a worthless plaster statue from the British Museum. Meanwhile, acclaimed Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen is being harassed by someone who has left a dozen dead animals at his doorstep over the course of eight months, both in his native country and at his lodgings in England. Major is adept at building suspense and devising intriguing puzzles, but the resolutions fall short of the premises. Furthermore, his language isn’t always a match for the canon, as when Watson fears that Mrs. Hudson is “about to launch into one of her soul-searching episodes.” Sherlockians can safely pass. (Oct.)