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Sherlock Holmes: Gods of War
James Lovegrove
Titan Books, 304 pages

Sherlock Holmes: Gods of War
James Lovegrove
James Lovegrove, who also writes as J.M.H. Lovegrove, is an Arthur C. Clarke Award short-listed author. He was born on Christmas Eve, 1965. Despite the rumour and the year and a half he spent in Chicago between 1995 and 1996, he remains inarguably, ineluctably, irretrievably, irrevocably British. He lives in Lewes, East Sussex.

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A review by Sandra Scholes

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle penned the original novels as the deerstalker-wearing, pipe-smoking detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. Watson. He created characters that would be immortalised in further books and films written by those authors who would carry on their activities long after Conan Doyle's death. Many would remember Holmes for his many traits, his mannerisms, intelligence and flaws in his character too that made him more than the average detective.

In Sherlock Holmes: Gods of War, celebrated author James Lovegrove writes a story from Holmes's later life at a retirement cottage, Eastbourne, and this is where Patrick Mallinson's dead body is found under Beachy Head. Dr. Watson introduces the novel with a short letter mentioning some of the cases both he and Holmes had been involved in, linking the old with the new. While the public enjoys hearing the accounts of other cases in the Strand, Watson doesn't share their enthusiasm for their many cases he considered too dangerous to be commonly known. Watson also says that he intended for many of them to remain in these volumes and under lock and key somewhere safe, hoping the whole affair would be soon forgotten.

As Watson has enjoyed his retirement, Holmes, though he has had time to relax and think during his stay at the retirement cottage, has gotten bored of late and needed a case like this one to take his mind off the tedium of living the life in the slow lane. Rather than Holmes and Watson going head first into the case mentioned on the back cover blurb, Holmes alerts Watson about a much shorter case, the Case of the Purloined Pearls where the owner of a prominent jewellers, Barraclough's, has had some of his finest collection of pearls stolen from his safe after hours. Author James Lovegrove uses references to Conan Doyle's best Holmes cases, using the villains involved in past cases to make the story more credible. Holmes as you would expect solves the first one while Watson documents it before moving onto the main case -- The Body on the Shore. Instead of Inspector Lestrade, Inspector George Tasker is on the case and none too pleased to see Holmes at the crime scene first. While Lestrade welcomed Holmes helping with the investigations at Scotland Yard, Tasker dislikes him, calling him a busy body, but that depends on whether he will change his mind if he can't solve this particular case.

In The Body on the Shore, Holmes and Watson find the body of a Patrick Mallinson, son of Craig Mallinson, an aviator who disliked how his son had given up his place at university to be involved in a romantic relationship with a young woman. Set in the time period of the First World War, Lovegrove takes Holmes and Watson out of retirement and back into the spotlight as super sleuths, one of many novels; The Stuff of Nightmares, The Spirit Box, and The Thinking Engine. Lovegrove takes two characters from one of the most famous writers in sleuthing history and folds them into a novel that deserves the recognition it will get from an audience who are already familiar with the genre.

Copyright © 2014 Sandra Scholes

Sandra has currently taken up origami again only to fill her house with several huge constructions just to get a rise out of every visitor. When she isn't doing this, she is busy writing reviews for Love Romance Passion, Rainbow Reviews, Hellonotes and Albedo One.

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