A Study in Darkness: Book Two in The Baskerville Affair
by Emma Jane Holloway
Cover Artist: Gene Mollica
Review by Mel Jacob
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345537195
Date: 29 October 2013 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
This follows the first book in the Baskerville Affair, A Study in Silks. Evalina Cooper, Sherlock Holmes' niece, and Nicolino, now Captain Nick of the Red Jack pirate ship, join forces to defeat the resurrected Doctor Magnus, a dark sorcerer, and the Steam Barons determined to rule England and extend their influence beyond its shores. Lord Bancroft, now under the thumb of Jasper Keating, the Gold Steam Baron, seeks to fund and aid the Baskerville rebels. All three risk their lives to save Victoria's kingdom.
When Keating catches his soon to be son-in-law, Tobias Roth, son of Lord Bancroft, kissing Evalina, he threatens her uncle and to expose her background as a circus performer. Anxious to save her family, Evalina agrees to put her magically skills at his disposal. Keating wants information on the Blue Steam Baron before attacking him, especially what weapons he has, the maker of those arms, and Blue's army. Evalina cares about people and Keating uses that to manipulate her and force her to help him. She goes undercover in a seedy part of London to gain the information.
Meanwhile, Imogen, Evalina's best friend, always haunted by dark dreams, becomes terrified as her dreams turn to nightmares of killings. A dark thing has taken over her dreams, and she would avoid sleep if she could. In the past, Evalina had helped Imogen cope, but now she is unaware of her friendís problems.
Nick and Evalina work together to satisfy Keating's demands, but also place themselves in mortal danger. Magnus continues his old tricks and slowly seduces Evalina into the use of black magic. She struggles against the desire to learn more.
Holloway manages the different characters and plot strands adroitly from Evalina and Nick, Tobias and Alice, Keating, and Sherlock Holmes along with the rebels tell an action filled story. A Study in Ashes, book 3 of The Baskerville Affair continues the struggle and Evalinaís adventures. However, some may quibble with Holloway's portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft Holmes, and Doctor Watson and especially, and with revealing Sherlock's thoughts and feelings.