MYSTERY

Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons

Titan. Sept. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9781789094695. $19.99. M
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In 1889, Sherlock Holmes shot and killed the monstrous Hound of the Baskervilles. Its owner, naturalist Jack Stapleton, is also dead. Now, five years later, an American friend of Sir Henry Baskerville turns to Holmes for help. Benjamin Grier reports that Sir Henry married, has a three-year-old son, Harry, but has lost his wife. She was killed on the Dartmoor moors by some creature that drained her blood. Did Stapleton survive? Watson refuses to go with Holmes, so Holmes methodically reports on the search and discovery of a second ingenious killer with designs on the cursed Baskerville family. Something about the killer’s death doesn’t add up, and Holmes is angry that he missed signs that it wasn’t actually a suicide. This time, young Harry has been kidnapped, and Watson accompanies his friend. Five men journey to Costa Rica by ship, tracking a dangerous killer bent on revenge, but their trip is not without murder attempts, racist attacks on Grier, Black former Buffalo Soldier, and trouble.
VERDICT The latest pastiche by the author of Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Dust is a clever follow-up to The Hound of the Baskervilles. The language, characters, and pacing is accurate enough to satisfy even hard-core Holmes fans.

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