Sherlock Holmes: Gods of War by James Lovegrove begins with an elder Watson and Holmes combo. Having retired to the countryside, Sherlock Holmes has resdiscovered his bitterest enemy; boredom. John Watson comes to visit, his head awash in the concerns of interactions between nations in this the year 1913. After a basic robbery from a jewelry store, Watson and Holmes discover an even greater mystery. Washed up on the beach under the cliffs of Beachy Head is the body of young Patrick Mallinson. The younger son of wealthy importer Craig Mallison, Patrick had recently undergone heartbreak and his death is ruled a suicide. Craig Mallison calls on Holmes to rule out any rumors of foul play. However, Mallison is embroiled in far more than he lets on.
James Lovegrove has an obvious passion for mystery and the Sherlock Holmes’ tale. His stories are complex, yet easy to follow when the famous literary detective gets going on his deductions. Lovegrove also has a tendency to include myths and legends in his Sherlock Holmes’ stories, often creating a story far more calculated and cunning than a simple murder. Sherlock Holmes: Gods of War uses secret orders and the dangers of impending World War I to heighten the tension of a complicated murder mystery, and in turn creates a book that successfully holds the reader’s attention until the final pages.
Lovegrove’s inclusion of a strong female character, Ellie Vandenbergh, feels inclusive and not a slapped together afterthought as many modern books have recently. Ellie is strong, smart, and well-trained, choosing to make a living on her own even at a time where being unmarried in her early 30’s would have been cause for gossip.
Lovegrove’s postscript indicates that Craig Mallison and Ellie Vandenbergh are both names taken from two people who donated during a charity auction in which being included as characters in this book was a prize. His characters and this book make it a worthwhile prize indeed.
Sherlock Holmes: Gods of War is available now from Titan Books.