Sherlock Holmes and the Tangled Skein
by David Stuart Davies
Review by Gayle Surrette
Endeavour Press Kindle Edition ISBN/ITEM#: B01C4JQLIO
Date: 22 February 2016
I wasn't sure what to expect from Sherlock Holmes and the Tangled Skein, have previously read several of novels where Holmes comes face to face with one supernatural element or another. Sherlock Holmes and the Tangled Skein seems at first to be a blend of the Hound of the Baskervilles with Stoker's Dracula. Not a true blending, for the Baskerville case has been solved and Holmes is back in London, bored except for the recent excitement of an attempt on his life.
He's looking for something to interest him when he spots an announcement of a talk to be given by Prof. Abraham Van Helsing on the topic of the 'cult of the undead'. Of course, Holmes rails about the public's gullibility regarding the nonsense that Van Helsing is spoon feeding the masses.
Then Holmes receives a strange message that he believes might be from the person who had just failed to kill him. Watson hadn't planned to follow Holmes to his meeting until a young woman showed up with a story about a violent lover who planned to kill Holmes. Luckily, Watson arrived in time to save Holmes and now they believe that maybe the Baskerville case isn't as neatly tied up as they thought.
Meanwhile, the police are trying to discover who is responsible for what the newspapers headlines are reporting as "The Hampstead Horror, and another child injured by the "Phantom Lady". Holmes and Watson are asked to step in to investigate. In the course of their surveillance, they met Van Helsing.
It's at this point that the the story takes off, not that it hasn't had a lot of excitement prior to this point. Now Holmes' logical, analytical approach seems ill fitted to the circumstances that he finds himself involved in. It turns out that Van Helsing isn't the crackpot snake oil salesman that Holmes expected. The approach to clues, the crime scene, and step by step investigation that Holmes developed are put to the test and strained to the breaking point as he finds himself and Watson dealing with what may possibly be a supernatural or paranormal element.
Many of the details of the Count Dracula's travels, accommodations, mode of operation, and assistance match with the account written by Bram Stoker. However, some of the details have been changed to incorporate the feel and detail of investigations that are a hallmark of the works of Dr. Watson's tales of Holmes (via Conan Doyle). Sherlock Holmes and the Tangled Skein is a masterful blending that provides readers with an exciting page-turning adventure.