A mysterious schooner runs aground in an English harbour. Its cargo is fifty boxes of earth; its only living passenger, a black dog. The captain’s body is lashed to the wheel lifeless, drained of blood.
Soon, a rash of bizarre nocturnal crimes terrifies London. It can only be the work of Count Dracula, and only one man can save the city: the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective meets Bram Stoker’s vampire in this hugely enjoyable Gothic Victorian romp. As usual opinion will be divided between those that only want to see their favourite literary creations left alone, and those who revel in seeing them in new adventures and settings.
I for one, thoroughly enjoy this series, each guest author gives the Sherlock Holmes canon a new twist or reimagining. Yes, I love the original fifty six short stories and four novels of Conan Doyle, but appreciate modern authors’ efforts to pit Holmes and Watson against new adversaries and into unexplored territory.
I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula as a boy, and remember being captivated by the dark tale with its malevolent count, the eccentric vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing and the strong-willed Mina Harker.
I began this novel with a few misgivings, worried that it could be a misstep. These are giant, iconic characters from fiction after all, and to take them both on is very brave of author Estleman. His experience and passion as a fiction writer shines through – he manages the enviable feat of seamlessly blending the Dracula story with a Dr John H. Watson chronicle.
He has also captured the tone and personality of Watson, who serves as narrator here. This is a short adventure, but it rattles along at a thundering and thrilling pace. Many of the events that transpire in Stoker’s masterful novel are given a fresh perspective with the inclusion of Holmes and Watson. Estleman has even managed to make an old established story seem fresh.
The greatest detective mind versus the supernatural cunning of Dracula is a showdown anyone would pay admission for. Estleman’s imaginative novel does not let the reader down.
With no clunky exposition or scene setting, this starts fast and does not let up. Blending two beloved characters in this way, providing readers with a thrilling adventure, is quite an achievement. Fans of vampires and crime fiction will thoroughly enjoy this.
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula by Loren D. Estleman
Published 2012 by Titan Books
Review by Daniel Cann
Robert from England
A superb take on Holmes and the legend of Dracula. I've read Loren's crime novels before, but he really has captured the essence of the enigmatic detective in this short but thrilling book. As for his version of the Count, I will say no more. Well worth investigating.
9.4/10 from 2 reviews