Reluctantly, Sherlock Holmes agrees to assist Inspector Lestrade who is being hounded by an obnoxious nobleman whose jewel-encrusted dagger has gone missing. However, what Holmes initially believes to be a simple theft turns out instead to be his first encounter with a master criminal, who is as ruthless as he is brilliant, and whom Watson dubs “The Merchant of Menace.”
Soon Holmes finds himself matching wits with a man who will steal anything – if the price is right. Moreover, this thief will go to any lengths, including blackmail and murder, to achieve his desired goal.
As Holmes comes to understand his adversary, he also begins to realize he can only react to the Merchant because he has no idea where this criminal mastermind will strike next. All Holmes knows for certain is the Merchant seems to specialize in priceless, one-of-a-kind articles. Will that be enough information for the Great Detective to outwit his foe?
From the British Museum to the Louvre to Blenheim Palace, Holmes finds himself in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. Set against the backdrop of early Edwardian England, the Great Detective and his Boswell encounter an array of luminaries from the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough to a young Winston Churchill.
For fans of Conan Doyle’s immortal detective, the game is always afoot. However, this time around Holmes must try to bring to justice a villain who might well be the next Napoleon of Crime.
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Pretty much the definition of a delight to read. As a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I always enjoy a great new story to add to their adventures. As long as it keeps true to Doyle of course and I think that Ryan has done a very good job injecting Doyle’s spirit with a true sense of his mystery and problem-solving.
Holmes is as logical and observant as ever, and Watson the ever-faithful keeper of his cases.
I can’t stress enough just how enjoyable I found this read and it wasn’t just Ryan’s great adaptation of style for Holmes and Watson but also the pacing and flow.
The story isn’t overly done in length, so our author is able to give us a story that has tension and mystery building throughout while not dragging it on.
Holmes has amazing disguises, there’s an impossible crime, Watson is ever faithfully at his side and trying to piece together clues himself, and well, the game is afoot!
Not to mention he encounters a rather delicious new ‘villain’ this one can give Moriarty a run for is money but instead of trying to one-up the brilliance of Doyle’s Moriarty, Ryan pays homage in the making of his ‘Merchant.’
If you’re a fan of Holmes, and like to read the stories that were inspired by Doyle, I suggest giving this one and the others in the series a try! Four cups of coffee from me!
Thank you to Caroline and the publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Other Books in the Series
About the Author
A lifelong Sherlockian, Richard Ryan is the author of “The Official Sherlock Holmes Trivia Book” as well as a book on Agatha Christie trivia, and his series, the Sherlock Holmes Adventures, now consisting of four books, all available from MX Publishing, London.
Richard Ryan obtained his master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in medieval literature; he is a die-hard fan of the Fighting Irish — it doesn’t matter what sport. He has been happily married for 40 years and is the proud father of two children.
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