Good news for those who cannot live without their favorite detective! Titan Books is out with another installation in their wonderful Sherlock Holmes series. This one is by George Mann, author of the popular Newbury and Hobbes series, and is entitled Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box.
Similar to the previous James Lovegrove story, Gods of War, we are working the case alongside a retired, elderly Holmes and Watson. Gods of War, however, took place just prior to World War I, but in The Spirit Box we are smack in the midst of the Great War. Sherlock has answered a summons from his brother Mycroft (still hard at work within the British government) and has left his quiet life of beekeeping in Sussex to join Watson in London for an important case.
The duo begins by investigating a series of grisly suicides committed by people appearing to have pacifist leanings and discover that one of them just doesn’t add up. A high-ranking official in the War Office has thrown himself into the Thames after a routine morning spent interviewing German nationals for loyalty purposes. Holmes and Watson, despite their advancing years, manage to have themselves a capital adventure involving mysterious spiritual auras, tailing suspicious characters through the London streets, breaking into banks, and duking it out with a pack of Teutonic thugs.
Having read now two James Lovegrove Sherlock books, Gods of War and The Stuff of Nightmares, and now this George Mann installation, it’s difficult not to engage in a bit of comparison. I would have to say that, in my opinion, I hear the echo of Doyle’s writing style with a bit more fidelity in Lovegrove’s writing than in Mann’s. I found the story line of The Spirit Box to be a tad stronger than Gods of War, however. So, at the final tally, I would call it a draw and simply say that I am delighted that both of these talented writers are contributing to Titan Books’ Sherlock series.
Because, after all, having two writers means twice as many of these amusing tales!