Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Brilliant local descriptions, clever pastiche, weak storylin
on 11 February 1999
This book features Sherlock Holmes in his late 50s, and his godfather, Revd Sabine Baring-Gould, a real person who lived in Devonshire, England from 1834-1924. The story takes place in 1923, a few weeks before Baring-Gould's death. Mary Russell, the narrator, is married to Holmes, and they have both been summoned to Dartmoor to solve a murder mystery. The story itself is weak, and requires knowledge of 'the Hound of the Baskervilles' for a full appreciation. This is compensated for, however, by the wonderfully vivid and realistic descriptions of Dartmoor, and Lew House, where Baring-Gould lived. As someone who grew up a few miles from this spot, I can vouch for the absolute accuracy of the setting. Laurie King has also read just about all of Baring-Gould's 150 books, and quotes delightfully from many of them. The skill of the book lies in the imaginative conjunction of a fictional and a real character, and for any reader with knowledge of either man, the result is very pleasing. As a lifelong afficionado of Sabine Baring-Gould, I am most indebted to King for bringing him into greater prominence.