Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Moonstone's Curse by Sam Siciliano

The Moonstone's Curse is the latest title in Titan Books Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series. I am always happy to read anything set in the Sherlock universe and this book was a fine addition to that world neatly blending plot and characters from Wilkie Collins The Moonstone with Sherlock's London society. Well to do aristocrat Charles Bromley seeks the help of Holmes and his cousin Dr Henry Vernier because he believes his wife is in imminent danger. His wife Alice has inherited the priceless diamond known as the Moonstone from her father Neville who inherited it from his mother Rachel Verinder the original recipient of the diamond in Wilkie Collins novel of 1868. Bromley goes on to explain the diamond's bloody history and the belief that Alice's ancestor had stolen the diamond during the siege of Srirangaptana and murdered the man tasked with guarding it. Alice is convinced that because of this bloody history the Moonstone is cursed. She believes that it killed her parents and she wants to get rid of it. However Alice is prevented from selling the diamond by a clause in her inheritance which means the diamond must pass intact to her surviving kin. Alice has recently begun to see faces at the window and is convinced that someone has come from India to take the diamond back. Sherlock Holmes is of course intrigued and the game is indeed afoot. Following on the trail of a murdered jeweller Holmes and Vernier are soon entangled in the mystery of The Moonstone and under its sinister spell. Tying Sherlock Holmes to what most would consider the first detective or mystery novel is a smart move on the part of the author and one that Siciliano has pulled off before; his previous Sherlock Holmes novels include The White Worm inspired by one of Bram Stoker's less successful outings. The Moonstone's Curse is however a twisty mystery full of intriguing characters especially Vernier and his wife Michelle Doudet-Vernier  also a doctor. The contrast between the frightened and laudanum addicted Alice and the redoubtable Michelle offers a marked commentary on Victorian feminity.
I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more of the adventures of Holmes and the Verniers.

The Moonstone's Curse is published today 14th February and is available in paperback and ebook from Titan Books. Thanks so much to Phillipa Ward for sending me a copy.

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