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The Red Tower
Sherlock Holmes
BY Mark A Latham

Titan Books
27 March 2018/ ISBN 9781783298686
Mystery /Historical

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


Dr Watson is invited to a weekend party by his old friend James Crain. The only son and heir of the Marquess of Berkeley, Crain has never recovered from the death of his mother and has recently become interested in spiritualism. Once at Crain Manor it is obvious that medium Madame Farr and her cohorts have got their hooks into him and Watson is keen to intervene before things get worse. Following a séance and more than one ghostly apparition things do indeed get deadly, and Holmes is called in to investigate.

This involving novel has all the trappings of a good story: a spooky old house, a party where everybody has something to hide, séances, ghosts, a legend involving secret passages and buried treasure…It kept me guessing until not long before the dénouement, being replete with red herrings and suspects. Set during a chilly April in 1894, not long after Watson’s wife Mary has died and Holmes has returned following his “death” the author creates a suitably melancholy and gothic ambience which suits the story perfectly. Holmes and Watson are both well portrayed, and this is one of those real page turners where there is at least one thing happening on each page. I have read a lot of Conan Doyle “pastiches” and think this is a particularly superior one, by an author who invariably delivers the goods. Recommended.

Reviewed 2018