London. Snowy December day in 1888.
Doctor Watson receives an urgent message: his dear friend, world famous Sherlock Holmes, has once again fallen into his cocaine habit. Watson is unable to console his friend or get him up and about – until a uniquely coded letter arrives from Paris. The French cabaret star, mademoiselle La Victoire, is asking for help. Her son is missing.
Holmes hurries to Paris with Watson on his side and learns that the missing child is only a top of an iceberg is a much bigger mystery, covering complex murders and ruthless lies. Will Holmes recover quickly enough to find the missing boy and to stop a wave of murders? Will mademoiselle La Victoire ever again see her son?
Bonnie Macbird has written a new mystery to the Sherlock Holmes world and it is sweet. I was hooked from page one. There are a few classic detective characters who just keep coming back to you. Obviously the original character must have been crafted well, if the charm holds year after year and even in the hands of new authors. Art in the Blood has the feel of the period and the complex relationship between Holmes and Watson just like in the originals, but it has also some new aspects. Macbird attempts to deepen our understanding of Sherlock Holmes as a person, his motivations and how he has become the person he is. I’m not quite sure whether the Holmes universe needs this kind of psychological flavour, but it brings something new to the story nevertheless.
Another new aspect is the nature of the crime. Sherlock Holmes crimes are usually murders, but perhaps what you could call clean murders. There’s not much splatter or intestines involved. Nor is there this time, but (SPOILER ALERT) there is a sexually motivated crime, which feels a bit strange in the Holmes context. Not to mention this alley has been walked so, so many times in all possible modern detective series both in books and in television. (SPOILER ALERT STOPS)
Despite this the mystery is very well crafted. Suspense carries till the end. There’s another Sherlockian mystery from Macbird called Unquiet Spirits and I think I’ll add that one to my Bookworm’s Wishlist to have a little bit more Sherlock time to look forward to.