SHERLOCK HOLMES VS CTHULHU: THE ADVENTURE OF THE DEADLY DIMENSIONS By Lois H. Gresh. Review.

SHERLOCK HOLMES VS CTHULHU: THE ADVENTURE OF THE DEADLY DIMENSIONS By Lois H. Gresh

Titan Books, pb, £5.75

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

A serial killer is at large in Victorian London, leaving eviscerated bodies with bones heaped into bizarre configurations alongside an odd, spherical object that appears to be made of bone, with strange, arcane symbols carved onto it. Inspector Lestrade is predictably baffled, so calls in Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson to help. These men of science have built up an enviable reputation of being able to solve the unsolvable, defeating criminal masterminds through their use of logic, criminology and deduction.

When a man claiming to have built a living machine that killed his father visits Holmes, asking for his help, things begin to get stranger. Add to that a cult calling themselves Dagonites in Dorset who worship mysterious beings they call ‘The Old Ones’, and Holmes finds himself facing what could be the strangest case of his career.

This conjoining of two well-loved mythoi has the potential to cause strong reactions in fans, but Gresh has managed to stay true to both Lovecraft and Conan Doyle’s beloved creations. Holmes finds himself plunged into a mystery that he cannot explain through science alone, and the stress starts to show. Watson sends his wife Mary and son Samuel away from London to keep them safe and begins to be plagued by strange colours, visions and sounds. Could this be the case that cracks Holmes and Watson?

Gresh crafts a superb tale, expertly and seamlessly spinning the Cthulhu mythos into the world of Holmes and Watson. The dialogue and writing style could very well have come from the pen of Conan Doyle himself and will satisfy fans of both authors. The clash of the arcane with the logic of Holmes’ world is skilfully executed, and she artfully builds the mystery and suspense as they battle against forces they do not understand. This is book one in a trilogy, and I cannot wait to see how the crimefighting duo cope against Cthulhu and the forces of darkness.

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