Friday 28 October 2016

Crime: Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird

Harper Collins, €11.99

Published 23/05/2016 | 02:30

Crime: Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird
Crime: Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird

The challenge to capture the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's immortal sleuth has been undertaken by many writers, in TV, film and fiction. In this latest contribution to the Sherlock canon, MacBird cleverly handles the conceit by 'finding' a lost manuscript at the British Library, written by Dr Watson.

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The faded ink and missing pages require some conjecture on the author's part, providing the reader with a very convincing narrative set in London 1888. Watson has been summoned by Mrs Hudson to 221B Baker Street, concerned after an outbreak of fire in the rooms of Sherlock Holmes. On arrival, Watson finds Holmes huddled beneath a blanket, gaunt and uncommunicative. He discovers that Holmes has been in jail and it doesn't take long to deduce that he has taken a cocaine overdose. Watson must help Holmes recover in order to deal with an urgent letter from a French chanteuse appealing to Holmes to find her son, who has been living with his English father, the Earl of Pellingham. The detectives are soon on the train to Paris. As Sherlock begins to unravel the mystery, he discovers that one missing child is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger mystery, involving stolen priceless antiquities and several murders.

Paris in La Belle Epoque, the snowy wilds of Lancashire and foggy London form the backdrop for this gripping tale. This is award-winning MacBird's debut novel, she has been a Conan Doyle devotee since she was 10. It will enchant fans of period drama and dearly beloved Holmes.

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