10 October, 2013

#BookReview :: The Execution of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes #4) by Donald Thomas

Drugged, manacled, condemned to a dank cell in the depths of London's infamous Newgate prison, the world's greatest literary detective awaits execution by a vengeful crew of formidable enemies. Escape is impossible; death, a certainty. But not for Sherlock Holmes, who, in a stunning display of intellect and derring-do, will elude his hangman's noose and live to fiddle, spy and ratiocinate another day.

Against tremendous odds Holmes will continue to defy his enemies in four more encounters, from cracking German intelligence codes, to going against Scotland Yard and the Crown in proving the innocence of a man condemned to death for the slaying of a pregnant serving girl, to an arsenic-wielding magician, and of course, to a battle of wits with the malevolent Moriarty. Everywhere in these five finely wrought tales, riddles and mystery hover in the air. But they are not beyond the grasp of the incomparable Sherlock Holmes.

This collection includes five stories, the first one being the title story of the book. Sherlock Holmes is captured by his enemies and tied up in a dingy old cellar. A ‘trial’ takes place, which is clearly not very fair, before his execution. As odds are stacked up against Sherlock, he has only his brain and quick thinking to depend upon. “The Case of the Greek Key” deals with a German code that must be cracked to preserve military secrets. Once again, the wheels in Sherlock’s mind spins faster than anyone to get the job done. In “The Case of the Peasenhall Murder”, Sherlock undertakes the task of clearing the name of a maid who he believes is not guilty. In “The Case of the Phantom Chambermaid” Sherlock uncovers a murder plan. In “The Queen of The Night” Sherlock is up against Moriarty while trying to stop the plan to steal the crown jewels.

Having read one of Donald Thomas’s books before,  I thought that I was ready for what was to come in this book. The one thing that had kept nagging while reading Sherlock Holmes & the Ghosts of Bly was the dynamics between Sherlock and Watson. I was hoping it would be different in this one and well it was – because Watson was hardly featured in this one! He featured only in one of the stories where his medical expertise was required, other than that it was a bummer! On the other hand, Donald Thomas manages to maintain the vision of Sherlock as a brainiac pretty well. On the other hand I also have to admit that I feel that he does have a very effective way of narrating his stories. They are detailed and descriptive and makes for an interesting read. The plots are mostly well rounded and action packed. 

Overall, I guess that as far as detective stories go, these are good. However, Sherlock and Watson being the lead – I guess expectations run really high and in that case some maybe disappointed. Read it without expectations and with an open mind – you will like them.

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