img003.jpgThe last of the Holmesian marathon, and a very odd book indeed. The story itself is pretty straightforward and enjoyable; Holmes & Watson are asked to assist Sir James, the nephew of the late Professor Moriarty, who is about to be accused of a terrible crime. Livestock have been mutilated by some apparently demonic force, and now a man has been killed. Superstitious villagers blame Moriarty, and it is only a matter of time before they take matters into their own hands. A significant complication is that young Sir James loathes Holmes for what he has done to the Moriarty name and does not want his help.

Despite what turned out to be an interesting and rather gothic story, I found this book disconcerting. This was largely because of the number of photographs from the Granada TV adaptations starring Jeremy Brett. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed those dramatisations, particularly Edward Hardwick as Watson, but Brett isn’t the image I have in my head when I read a Holmes story (I’ve always been a Rathbone aficionado, despite the dodgy storylines for some of his films), and I found the illustrations more an irritant than anything else.

The book originated from Italy and was obviously meant to be the first in a series, although I haven’t found any of the others in English. Worth having a look at, but not one I think I would pick up again.

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