Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sherlock Holmes & Mr. Mac: Review

Young Inspector Alec MacDonald was introduced to Holmes readers in The Valley of Fear. MacDonald works well with Sherlock Holmes and doesn't have the same need to compete with him that Lestrade does. Gary Lovisi has expanded on the relationship built in the Doyle novel and gives modern readers two new cases: "The Affair of Lady Westcott's Lost Ruby" and "The Case of the Unseen Assasin." The former is a brand new case while the latter is built upon the mention of "...the tracking and arrest of Huret, the Boulevard Assasin--an exploit which won for Holmes an autograph letter of thanks from the French President and the Order of The Legion of Honor."

When "The Affair of Lady Westcott's Lost Ruby" begins MacDonald (or "Mr. Mac" as Holmes calls him) believes he is being called upon to track thieves who have stolen a valuable jewel. He's a bit disgruntled when he discovers he's been summoned to find a lost dog. But he becomes very interested in Lady Westcott and decides to do his best for her. Then the elderly woman herself disappears and Mr. Mac finds the need to consult Holmes. Who would have guessed that the case of a missing dog could have have a great effect on the security of England?

In "The Case of the Unseen Assassin," Mr. Mac and Holmes find themselves racing against time to find one of London's earliest mass-murderers. Someone is shooting society members as they go about their business on the streets of London. The victims include a bank clerk, a newly-elected M.P., and a banking manager. But then Holmes finds evidence that the chain of murders began even earlier with a window washer and an attempt that went awry. He and Mr. Mac sense a connection, but what could possible connect men from such different walks of life? There is an even earlier rash of murders that occurred in Paris and when the two detectives find the missing links there, then the pieces fall into place for the London crimes.

Lovisi has obviously done his research before writing these stories--both historical research of the Victorian era as well as having a genuine understanding of the Doyle characters and style of writing. There are a few instances where the reader is aware that these stories spring from a modern pen rather than from Doyle himself and overall the Holmsian aura is very genuine. Lovisi fleshes out the character of Mr. Mac and makes him a worthy detective to work with Holmes. Two highly entertaining mysteries in the Holmes tradition. ★★★★

[Finished on 10/8/17]

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