REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes and the Beast of the Stapletons by James Lovegrove

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Read this book for: classic Holmes pastiche, Sherlock Holmes, cozy mystery, supernatural elements, classic mystery, whodunnit

Quick Review: Packed with familiar faces and places but with a fresh twist, this is a novel perfectly suited to classic Holmes fans. 

1894. The monstrous Hound of the Baskervilles has been dead for five years, along with its no less monstrous owner, the naturalist Jack Stapleton. Sir Henry Baskerville is living contentedly at Baskerville Hall with his new wife Audrey and their three-year-old son Harry.

Until, that is, Audrey’s lifeless body is found on the moors, drained of blood. It would appear some fiendish creature is once more at large on Dartmoor and has, like its predecessor, targeted the unfortunate Baskerville family.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are summoned to Sir Henry’s aid, and our heroes must face a marauding beast that is the very stuff of nightmares. It seems that Stapleton may not have perished in the Great Grimpen Mire after all, as Holmes believed, and is hell-bent on revenge…

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BEAST OF THE STAPLETONS is Holmes writer James Lovegrove’s follow up to the classic HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, and a fitting continuation of that story written by a proven expert.  

James Lovegrove is one of the most prolific Holmes writers currently working, and writes a convincing Holmes in a number of situations, often with a supernatural or semi-supernatural twist. Check out reviews for SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CHRISTMAS DEMON, SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE DEVIL’S DUST, and SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE MISKATONIC MONSTROSITIES on this blog.  

Lovegrove writes Holmes extremely well. Once again in this installment, the character feels like the Holmes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. In fact, this is probably his most traditional edition that we have read, with the inclusion of Watson as biographer (also captured very well), the type of story, the mention of other major players and adventures in the canon Holmes catalogue, and the type, pace and style of plot. 

The plot itself is pure Baskerville, part two. A giant, man-eating beast, the darkness and mystery of the moor and even the characters themselves are all drawn directly from HOUND. Lovegrove carefully balances nods to the original with his own new elements to create a tale that feels as fresh as it does familiar. It’s also a fairly gratifying plot in itself; not overly complicated but satisfyingly twisting. 

If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan looking for some new material to read, you will definitely enjoy the familiar feeling and faces present in SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BEAST OF THE STAPLETONS!

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