Arthur Conan Doyle has just killed off Sherlock Holmes in “The Final Problem,” and he immediately becomes one of the most hated men in London. So when he is contacted by a medium “of some renown” and asked to investigate a murder, he jumps at the chance to get out of the city. The only thing is that the murder hasn’t happened yet—the medium, one Hope Thraxton, has foreseen that her death will occur at the third séance of a meeting of the Society for Psychical Research at her manor house in the English countryside.
Along for the ride is Conan Doyle’s good friend Oscar Wilde, and together they work to narrow down the list of suspects, which includes a mysterious foreign Count, a levitating magician, and an irritable old woman with a “familiar.” Meanwhile, Conan Doyle is enchanted by the plight of the capricious Hope Thraxton, who may or may not have a more complicated back-story than it first appears. As Conan Doyle and Wilde participate in séances and consider the possible motives of the assembled group, the clock ticks ever closer to Hope’s murder, in The Revenant of Thraxton Hall by Vaughn Entwistle.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I dare you to read this book and not fall in love with it if you are or have ever been a Sherlock Holmes fan.
This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. I giggled my way through the wry humour and appreciated the complexity of the mysteries involved in the telling of this tale.
From the very beginning, you can tell that the author put a lot of thought into this work. He managed to not only honour Arthur Conan Doyle and his fantastic career, but to make a new and interesting story of his life and his most infamous character.
The characters in this book are vibrant and alive, and each one has a special role to play in the story. I loved the way he portrayed Oscar Wilde in particular. If you are a fan of the literary greats, you can’t go wrong with this story. The flair that Mr. Wilde was painted with was in keeping with the historical documentation on his charismatic personality. From his concern over his clothing to his determination to make an entrance in every situation, he was written perfectly.
As for the paranormal aspect of the story, it was ever present throughout the entire book. The paranormal theme did not waver as the tale progressed.
I liked the conflicted emotions of the main character and his struggle to honour his wife, whilst still experiencing things that reminded him he was a young man. This made the author seem more important than his character for once, and I enjoyed that aspect very much.
The ending of the story is surprising and left me excited to read the next installment. There have been a lot of books based on famous authors, but this one was by far the best I have read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who truly loves literature, from the past and the present.
This review is based on a digital ARC from Netgalley and the publisher.