—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Silver Blaze
Having just finished watching the BBC TV series Sherlock series the other day, I was craving more of my favorite detective. As such, I was singularly delighted to discover a copy of James Lovegrove’s latest Holmes installment, Gods of War in my mailbox. Pausing only to grab a suitable libation and a comfy chair, I wasted no time settling down to learn what exciting game was afoot this time.
For those that have read the previous Lovegrove Sherlock Holmes novel, The Stuff of Nightmares (see my review), this new story is completely unrelated. The steampunk crusader Baron Cauchemar from the last installment is mentioned in passing here but does not play a part in the action in Gods of War.
Instead, we are transported to Holmes and Waston’s twilight years at Sherlock’s quiet cottage in Sussex, where Watson is paying a visit. Both have retired from their professions of detective and doctor but, as always, adventure finds them. In this instance, it is in the form of a body of a young man washed up on a nearby beach. Very rapidly the tranquil seaside visit evolves into a full-blown case involving mysterious deaths, arcane rituals, wealthy British magnates, soaring biplanes, and slavering hounds in the night.
Lovegrove has done a capital job once again at providing Sherlock fans additional material to savor. The Holmes and Waston characters have aged just as you might have expected them to and run true to Doyle form. I particularly enjoyed the portrait of Sherlock beekeeping and puttering in the garden—except, of course, his garden and bees hold a few surprises for the unwary.
My only slight disappointment was in the resolution of the case. I won’t spoil the plot, but just say that I felt the motive as explained to be a little thin and amorphous. Nonetheless, the story was a completely enjoyable romp and a perfect vacation read. I am truly looking forward to next installment in the series.