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The Labyrinth of Death
Sherlock Holmes
James Lovegrove

Titan Books
6 June 2017/ ISBN 9781785653377

Reviewed by  Rachel A Hyde


London 1895: Sherlock Holmes’s latest client is a distraught high court judge whose daughter has gone missing. Hannah Woolfson was doing some detecting herself, looking for her missing friend Sophia who had joined a mysterious cult. The Elysians sound harmless enough, a group of intelligent people who admire the ancient Greeks, but why do villagers have such a low opinion of the place? More to the point, what becomes of the cultists when they “graduate”?

This is the first of Lovegrove’s Sherlock Holmes novels I have read and I will certainly be reading more. It is not a short book but plenty happens in it, from the sleuth’s foray into the Dorset countryside to the extraordinary happenings in the cult’s headquarters. It is true that this Holmes seems to fall more than once for the enemy’s traps, which seems a bit out of character, but there are many good points here to make up for this. The author has penned an erudite tale with plenty of references to Greek mythology and culture, and some very inventive sequences towards the end. Anybody who grew up reading Greek myths will enjoy this and someone new to them might well be inspired to learn more. This is an easy book to get into, which in true Holmesian style, hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until the end, immersing the reader into several well described settings and having that touch of the bizarre that trademarked Conan Doyle’s style. I liked the intrepid heroine Hannah, a sort of Victorian Nancy Drew who is keen to play sleuth and, despite the fact that I did guess what was going to happen, reading about it all was such fun. One of the better Sherlock Holmes novels.

Reviewed 2017