01/11/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: The Further Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes: Seance For A Vampire by Fred Saberhagen. Titan Books. 278 page small enlarged paperback. Price: GBP 7.99 (UK), $ 9.95 (US), $11.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-84856-677-4.
check out website: www.titanbooks.com
Sherlock Holmes returns in ‘Séance For A Vampire’. It is a part of the multiple re-issue of novels originally published in the 1990s featuring the character of Holmes. Each one puts Holmes in a different situation some featuring the occult, such as this one with vampires. This is, of course, riding the advantage of the current popularity of the long-lived character.
This time there are two narrators of the events with John Watson providing the original recounting with his surprising fellow adventurer, Count Dracula, recalling the events of 1903 over a century later. This is a continuation of a story begun in ‘The Dracula Tape’ and continued in several novels by the late Fred Thomas Saberhagen, also known for his ‘Berserker’ series and other Science Fiction.
When Mr. Ambrose Altamont approaches Sherlock Holmes, he is a man in mourning. His eldest daughter has been drowned in a freak boating accident. Worse than that, his wife has sought the help of mediums Sarah and Abraham to contact his beloved daughter’s spirit. He is strongly convinced the mediums are fraudulent despite his wife believing she has seen and touched her dead daughter. Altamont urgently requires the help of the team of Holmes and John Watson to reveal their infamy.
To their utter mortification, Louisa Altamont appears and is revealed to be a vampire. Holmes is spirited away violently by some unknown evil forces and Watson is compelled to seek help from Holmes’ cousin, Count Dracula.
With tales of executed pirates, stolen treasure and young love blighted, this runs along quite nicely although it stutters towards the end with increasingly improbable coincidences used to finish the story. Despite that, it is highly readable and gives another aspect to the character of Sherlock Holmes tying up neatly into the gothic genre.
No doubt there are readers who have followed the whole series but this can also be read as a standalone novel as part of the linked series from Titan Books. As I stated previously, the story does rely quite heavily on coincidence and plot twists and your enjoyment may be marred by this.
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