The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Web Weaver by Sam Siciliano
|The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Web Weaver by Sam Siciliano|
|Category: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Despite being overly long and employing a dual narrative style which can be confusing, this tale of a Holmes with a romantic side is original enough to be well worth a look.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 394||Date: January 2012|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
An old gypsy woman places a curse on guests at a ball, leaving the upper class revellers shocked. When, over the next few years, misfortune befalls several of the party-goers, potted-meat magnate Donald Wheelwright knows there's only one recourse left to him - to call Sherlock Holmes. It's a slightly different version of Holmes from that we've come to expect, though. The detective, far from being an emotionless man, is capable of feeling strongly for the right woman - could the detective find love as well as the answer to the mystery?
Holmes tells his cousin Henry Vernier - who along with his wife Michelle tells this entertaining tale - that Watson's portrayal of him was flawed in many ways. This 'new' Sherlock is perhaps more likeable than Conan Doyle's and it's the blossoming of his friendship with Wheelwright's wife Violet which is the most interesting part of the novel. The mystery aspect is handled well enough but fails to stand out from the crowd of Conan Doyle imitators, and also rather overstays its welcome. I've always found Sherlock to work better in shorter works than in long ones, and nearly 400 pages is too much to sustain the suspense here. Adding to that is the somewhat confusing narrative, which switches from Henry to Michelle on certain chapters but never makes it clear who each chapter focuses on, leaving the first few paragraphs of several of them to be difficult to get to grips with.
So, not amongst the very best of Sherlock - but I'm still glad I read it. The novelty of seeing Holmes as a man taking a romantic interest in somebody helped it to stand out from the crowd and I liked Siciliano's portrayal of the detective. The two narrators device, despite getting confusing at times, works well towards the end as it allows the narrative to cover more ground than a single narrator would, and there's a genuinely exciting climax which had me completely enthralled to see how both the romance and the mystery played out.
Definite recommendation to fans of Sherlock, mild recommendation to others. The ending has got me intrigued enough to keep an eye out for Siciliano's earlier Holmes book, The Angel of the Opera, and to be hoping that we get a third from the author.
I love Holmes novels, and apart from the originals, one of my favourites is The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Man From Hell by Barrie Roberts. If you're looking for some supernatural Sherlock, you can't go wrong with the excellent pair of books by Tracy Revels, Shadowfall and Shadowblood. Finally, if you think Holmes without Watson is like a tree without roots, you'll no doubt enjoy some of the wonderful vignettes in Sherlock Holmes and the Lyme Regis Horror - Expanded 2nd Edition by David Ruffle
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Web Weaver by Sam Siciliano at Amazon.com.
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