Sherlock Holmes Vs Dracula
Written by: Loren D. Estleman
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
The year is 1890. A ship is discovered adrift off the English coast, its crew missing, its murdered captain lashed to the wheel, and its only passanger is a sinister black dog. This impenetrable mystery is clearly a case for the inimitable Sherlock Holmes, but for the first time in his illustrious career the great detective is baffled. Clearly the crew have been murdered and dumped overboard, but what can account for the captain’s expression of imponderable terror and his acute loss of blood, or the ship’s strange cargo — fifty boxes of earth?
The game is afoot, and Sherlock Holmes, aided as ever by the faithful Dr. Watson, finds himself on the trail of no mortal enemy, but the arch-vampire himself – Count Dracula…
In the foggy gas-lit streets of London, there is a shadow lurking. A menacing shadow that leaves a trail of blood, and who has a never ending thirst. A “Man” that is both fearsome and powerful, with an agenda known only to himself.
Having been a fan of Sir Authr Conan Doyle’s creation since my childhood, and also a fan of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (the book and the numerous film and television incarnations), my expectations for this novel were fairly high. We have two iconic literary classic characters blended into a single story; how would they interact, what would their exchanges be like and more importantly, who would win?
Sadly I was left extremely disappointed. The novel is set during the exact period of Bram Stoker’s classic and deals with the events of Dracula in London. Sherlock Holmes is approached by a nervous reporter and then jumps on the case. This alone had me questioning the character, as fans will no doubt be aware that Holmes had already tackled a case involving vampyres (The Last Vampyre) and completely dismissed them as fanciful and in his own words “rubbish”.
As with most Sherlock Homes novels, this is told by Dr Watson, which is keeping with the Holmes tradition, but the plot and sub plots (kidnapping of Mary, Dr Watson’s wife) was, for me, a little “unbelieveable”.
Added to this was the inclusion of The Baker Street Irregulars, which were originally a genius inclusion to the Holmes story, now just appear as cameos. There was also a large action piece involving a boat chase which I found to be a drag and added purely to appease fans of action.
As this is set in the same time as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, fans may already have guessed the outcome before reaching half way through the book. Whilst it does have some nice touches in its period descriptions of London, the costumes and even Dracula walking in daylight, this entry into the Sherlock Holmes franchise is best left to a younger generation who have little or no knowledge of the literary classics.
2 out of 5