Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Reading 2013 Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon

 am a big Holmes fan, so I was very curious to see how well done this book was. As the author explains in the afterword, many of the details of the story were based on real incidents in 1888 Liverpool. There were gangs who extorted protection money, there were zoos and animal exhibits, there were dogs and other animals used in pit fighting, and it was a very busy harbor town with ships arriving from all over the world. The idea of having Holmes investigate what the locals believe to be a demon fits with the mysteries penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about the great detective. Several times in those stories Holmes and Watson encounter people who believe that spirits or supernatural creatures (like the Hound of the Baskervilles) exist. The prickly attitude of the police chief also gives the tale a sense of rightness, since inspectors in London often felt intimidated by or jealous of Holmes and resented his involvement in their cases.

In the case of the Liverpool Demon, several people are attacked and their killer leaves unusual slashing marks on the bodies. Those marks and sightings of a giant flying creature seem to be evidence of a demon that the locals call Springheeled Jack. Newspapers of the time actually have stories about him and his alleged attacks in the area. The search for clues, and the real culprit, takes Holmes and Watson to a church, a museum, underground tunnels and many other spots in Liverpool - even a cemetery.

Readers who enjoy Holmes and other good mystery stories will enjoy this addition to the legendary case book kept by Dr. Watson. This is the second Holmes & Watson adventure by this author and I hope there will be more.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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