SHERLOCK HOLMES VS CTHULHU: THE ADVENTURE OF THE INNSMOUTH MUTATIONS By Lois H. Gresh. Review.

SHERLOCK HOLMES VS CTHULHU: THE ADVENTURE OF THE INNSMOUTH MUTATIONS By Lois H. Gresh

Titan Books, pb, £7.99

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

The third and final of Gresh’s saga of Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu sees Holmes and Watson travelling to America to do battle with Cthulhu, save the planet and close the Deadly Dimensions once and for all.

Arriving in Innsmouth, the detective duo (accompanied by Watson’s wife Mary, his infant son Samuel and Samuel’s nursemaid, Fortuna) find themselves in a place that seems very alien. The population of Innsmouth is grossly mutated, and the very air seems thick with evil. Staying in a mansion owned by a crotchety old Innsmouthian, his younger wife, her very devoted doctor and two children that are never seen or heard, strange things start to happen. Professor Moriarty also turns up in Innsmouth with a view to killing some of the village elders so he can take control, but like Holmes initially underestimates the power and overall strangeness of his surroundings. As Great Cthulhu and Dagon emerge, the town turns into a Dante-esque vision of Hell with ice raining from the skies and gigantic waves destroying part of the town and killing many of the faithful townsfolk; Holmes and Watson seem lost and powerless.

Holmes’ devotion to logic and science is well-documented, and as the world around them seems to descend into madness, will Holmes succumb and end up victim to the nefarious plotting of Moriarty or the Cthulhu-worshipping Dagonites?

Gresh’s writing is a delight to behold – she manages to merge two very popular genres together, remaining faithful to both and without it seeming ungainly. Holmes’ battle with not just Cthulhu, but also to remain sane is depicted superbly. Watson soldiers along stoically as ever, questioning his own sanity, strength and fortitude, but loyally remaining by the side of his friend throughout. Packed with action, adventure and weirdness, this is a fitting finale to Gresh’s triumphant trilogy.