The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Seance for a Vampire by Fred Saberhagen
|The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Seance for a Vampire by Fred Saberhagen|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: While Dracula outshines the title character in this addition to the Sherlock Holmes stories, it's still an extremely entertaining adventure and the author captures the voices of the vampire and of Dr Watson perfectly in his dual narration.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: June 2010|
|Publisher: Titan Books Ltd|
Holmes and Watson are called in by a bereaved father who's convinced a pair of spiritualists have deceived his wife by holding a séance in which their daughter seemed to return. When the pair attend a second séance, the girl comes back again, and it's clear that this is no ordinary trick. Holmes gets assaulted and kidnapped, and Watson realises that for the second time in their investigative career they're dealing with vampires. He's left with only one choice, and turns to Holmes cousin, the legendary Prince Dracula, for aid.
Slight bit of background here, although I managed to follow along perfectly happily without knowing it. While this is being rereleased as one of the Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series – reissues of books written by authors using Conan Doyle's famous detective – it also belongs to Fred Saberhagen's Dracula series, and is actually a late entry in that series. His second novel in that sequence, the Holmes-Dracula Affair, told the story of the pair of them meeting, and of them working together. While I'd normally stick rigidly to reading books in order wherever possible, the explanation of those previous events given in this book is clear enough to not cause any problems at all if you join, as I did, on this one.
I have to start off with something of a criticism, if a fairly minor one – I love 'classic' Holmes, with the pair of him and Watson investigating, cries of The game's afoot, Holmes deducing seventeen facts from a visitor's walking stick, and all the rest. This isn't really a whodunit – the villain, a Russian vampire and former pirate, is clearly introduced early on, and all the fun is in how Holmes, Watson and Dracula will stop him.
Having said that, there's lots of fun to be had as the trio of unlikely allies take on the villain, not least in the excellent writing style. Dracula springs to life – or unlife, at least – as an anti-hero to savour, while Watson is perfect, just as in the originals, a stalwart companion who will risk life and limb for his best friend, even when he doesn't have too much of an idea what's going on. The story races along, even the fairly long stretch when Holmes has been put out of action, and there's lots of memorable characters, including the 'drowned' girl who reappears as a vampire, the pair of spiritualists who are caught up in something far beyond what they were planning, and a memorable late appearance from a real life character.
While I can't quite give it five stars as it's not quite up there with the best Sherlock stories I've read, this is a strong recommendation to fans of his or of Dracula's, and I'm definitely hoping to read a few more of the vampire series by Saberhagen in the next few months.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading: Lots of great Holmes stories out there, obviously starting with the Conan Doyle originals. However, I also particularly enjoyed The Man From Hell by Barrie Roberts, also in the Further Adventures Series.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Seance for a Vampire by Fred Saberhagen at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Seance for a Vampire by Fred Saberhagen at Amazon.com.
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