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Sherlock Holmes: The Veiled Detective
by David Stuart Davies

Release Date: 23rd Oct 2009
Publisher: Titan Books
ISBN: 978 1 8485 6490 9
RRP: £7.99

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A re-look at that old rascal, Sherlock Holmes...

The first in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series from Titan Books; The Veiled Detective takes us back to the beginning, illuminating the circumstances which brought the infamous detective and the ponderous Dr Watson together.

Tripping along with the spritely zeal of youthful exuberance, The Veiled Detective opens with a wonderfully nostalgic account of the Holmes we all recognise and love – that of a young, exasperatingly intelligent, arrogantly aloof and shrewdly calculating man desperate to make himself a name in London as a private detective. The underhanded nature of Dr Watson’s appearance into Holmes’ world is both startling and unpalatable and immediately casts aspersions on the true character of the oft portrayed befuddled sidekick. Most unsettling of all is the all-consuming, unrelenting and sinister presence of Professor Moriarty, a brilliant criminal mastermind that is destined to become Holmes’ arch nemesis.

Bizarrely, the story putters out into a natural conclusion halfway through the book; whereupon, the author inelegantly contrives to join up the narrative with that of the commercially well-known book The Sign of Four and in so doing succeeds in disrupting the natural flow of the storyline as well as confusing the reader. One questions where the ‘new’ is in the rehashing of an old Holmes tale? Then, no sooner have we been so rudely distracted by this incongruous tie-in, than we are robustly propelled into another minor fracas that Holmes needs to solve. It is this disjointed sequence of events that resonates long after finishing the book and leaves you with a sour and disgruntled complexion; our high expectations having been glibly dashed by sloppy editing.

Interestingly, the series is written by a glut of different authors; presumably to keep it from stagnating and to benefit from a diverse range of writing styles and personal interpretations on Holmes’ character – who knows and who cares? In some respects, we suspect we might be glad of the change. Whatever the rationale behind using multiple authors to work on one series; rest assured that we sufficiently intrigued and an adequate aficionado of all things Sherlock Holmes that we intend to pursue these books with the determination of a bulldog.

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