Warlock Holmes - The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles by G S Denning
|Warlock Holmes - The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles by G S Denning|
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler|
|Summary: Warlock Holmes and Dr Watson return in another entertainingly silly series of cases which includes one of their most famous.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: May 2017|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories, but not that many novels. Holmes adventures were mostly kept to a short story length that allowed a quick build up and reveal that would fit into an episodic telling. The best known novel is The Hound of the Baskervilles and anyone who parodies the great detective would eventually need to cover the tale of the cursed Baskerville family. They don't come more parodic than Warlock Holmes and although he may have died at the end of the last book, this won't stop him investigating one of his greatest cases.
Warlock Holmes is not very well. In fact he is kind of dead. I mean kind of as he is a warlock and although bits are falling off and liquids are pooling in unfortunate places, he still has a faint heartbeat. All this is a great inconvenience to Dr Watson who just wants to chop up the corpse and smuggle it out of 221B Baker Street. Instead he has to find a resurrection stone and this is before they even get around to investigating a certain murderous hound.
The original Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone was a triumph of respecting the source material, whilst also putting a new spin on proceedings. The book took the form of a series of short Holmes adventures that are well known, but asked the question – what if Holmes did not use his genius to solve crimes, but magic? Watson's job was to write a cover up story and these books are the truth. A lot of the fun is found when Watson has to scramble to explain the unexplainable to a group of bemused people. The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles continues this trend and for the most part is a series of snappy and fun short stories. However, it also contains one longer almost novella length story.
The Baskerville case is a well-known one and Denning has once again managed to keep the essence of the original text, but put it in a fantastical light. Like the Sherlock original, I feel like the longer format does not work quite as well as the short story. There is almost too much room for the characters to breath and some of the jokes wear a little thinner than before. Warlock is best when he is jumps in and out of cases at pace. Thankfully, this is just one tale in a book that contains several.
Despite the book being named after Warlock, it is Watson who is once more the hero. It is he who has the lateral thinking that is not only required to solve the case, but to also cover up for Warlock's antics. The series is starting to build into something much bigger and the supernatural is beginning to seep into the real world. Moments like Watson trying to keep the ghost of a horse secret would not be found anywhere else.
Hell-Hound does the impressive job of continuing the quality found in the first book. Fans of both Sherlock Holmes and Urban Fantasy will gain a lot from the book. There is an obvious love of the source material on show as the cases are surprisingly similar in some instances, but you can also just read it as a slice of great fun.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Warlock Holmes - The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles by G S Denning at Amazon.com.
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