Numerous authors publish stories in the Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series through Titan Books. It was my pleasure to read and review one of author Loren D. Estleman’s contributions entitled, Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula. It tells the story of Count Dracula’s demise, ultimately, at the hands of Professor Abraham Van Helsing. However, what Bram Stoker left out in his account of the events, was the involvement of the intrepid detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant John Watson. The story, much like the original works by Conan Doyle, is an easy read with plenty of action and humor laced throughout the narrative. Here is a synopsis of the book directly from the publisher’s website….
A mysterious schooner runs aground in an English harbor. Its cargo is fifty boxes of earth; its only living passenger, a black dog. The captain’s body is lashed to the wheel—lifeless, drained of blood. Soon, a rash of bizarre nocturnal crimes terrifies London. It can only be the work of Count Dracula, and only one man can save the city: the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes.
I have stated previously that I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, having read all the works by Conan Doyle, and viewed just about every incarnation of the sleuth in movies or television. With that being said, I tend to be rather critical of the representations of Holmes and other ancillary characters. In Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula I did not stumble upon a single one of these criticisms. Estleman does a fantastic job of portraying the relationship between Holmes and Watson. While he also displays a detailed knowledge of the original works of Conan Doyle by referencing past cases and events throughout the narrative. The author even places himself within the story during the foreword by claiming to have purchased a dusty cardboard box of “junk” at an estate auction of Holmes’ last living (at least he WAS before his recent death) relative. In this box the author finds “The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count”. This just happens to be a manuscript, originally written by Watson himself, detailing he and Holmes’ involvement with the famous vampire.
Holmes takes on a case involving a shipwrecked vessel, a dead captain drained of all blood, and a cargo hold full of crates containing nothing but earth. After some investigation, and even an attempt to convince Sherlock to drop the case by the very man who hired him, Holmes concludes….with a little assistance from Van Helsing himself…that this is the work of Count Dracula. Watson is far more skeptical. Neither man being prone to belief in the supernatural; Holmes’ famous mantra, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”, rings true yet again. The pair then embark on a classic game of cat and mouse with the vampire of legend. This culminates in a classic Holmes-ian dual of wits. As well as with the classic Holmes-ian modesty in allowing Van Helsing and his crew of vampire hunters to take credit, in Stoker’s future work, for the capture and slaying of the creature. I believe Conan Doyle would be proud of the enduring legacy he has left behind, with so many great authors contributing such wonderful stories to the Sherlock Holmes saga. Loren D. Estleman is one of those authors and I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys the adventures of the world’s greatest detective.
You can purchase this book here.
Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula was courtesy of Titan Books.