Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Grimswell Curse!


The Grimswell Curse by Sam Siciliano is the third of his entries in Titan Books' The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Like its predecessor The Web Weaver, this one seems to have been produced for this series exclusively. The Grimswell Curse works overtime to evoke the greatest and most famous of the Sherlock Holmes adventures The Hound of the Baskervilles.

While the narrator is still the same as before, not Dr. John Watson but rather Dr. Henry Vernier, the cousin of Sherlock Holmes, we do this time get an adventure which works on its own and follows the classic pattern more closely despite the tonal variance supplied by the narration which posits a more human Sherlock than we're probably accustomed to.

The first problem this book has though is that it seems similar to its immediate predecessor in general format. A young woman of noble lineage is under some sort of seemingly supernatural threat and the men in her life are either unreliable or actively dangerous to her best interests. That sentence would work in both books, though of course there are twists in each. This time, the mystery and the narrative seem to pace one another pretty well though there is a general tendency to plod I've noticed in Siciliano's stories.

There is no spectral hound this time, but rather a ghostly wolf which seems to be the pet of a giant vampire of sorts who might or might not be the returned dead body of our heroine's father. Lots of enigmatic events and this one gets a rather Dickensian feel with the characters of the of the cast. Many, if not most are rather unlikable sorts and anyone who seems to be improving is often knocked off. Sherlock seems to take his sweet time solving this one even though he's right there and the finale is a bit to melodramatic for my tastes and makes a bit of a mockery of Holmes since he didn't see it coming.

Another annoyance is once again our narrator who seems obsessed this time with the size of people's hands. The sizes of people generally are a regular topic, but hands are special feature and the heroine's "large hands" are mentioned numerous times. At times I got the impression this was a tract for the betterment of larger folks in the population. 

That all said, I do rather enjoy this one more than I have the previous ones, if only for the brooding landscapes of the moors. The Hound of the Baskervilles is arguably my favorite novel all time and anything that evokes some aspect of it gets my nod of approval. This one might not be the sterling mystery  but it does have some of the mood.

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