World War 1 has come and gone, changing the face of history and of science. Holmes and Watson are retired men now, each having gone their separate ways. It is during one of Sherlock’s visits to London however that the two are called back in to action.
A severed hand has been found along the bank of the Thames. Fingerprints show the hand belongs to a young soldier who supposedly died in France – two years earlier. Yet the hand found is fresh and looks as if it were recently amputated. So how did it end up back in England when its owner was killed half a continent away? And what of the strange giant seen following them?
I am always pleased when a book manages to surprise me. Whether it be from how a character acts to a plot twist no one sees coming; I enjoy them all. So I’m sure you can imagine my surprise and delight, dear reader, when I came across a book that is a combination of two of my favorite stories – Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein.
Just going by the blurb on the back of the book, I already had an inkling that the plot of The Patchwork Devil would likely hint at the original Frankenstein. A person or persons seeking to create life where once there was none, for whatever purpose. So I’m sure you can imagine my surprise (and delight) when during the course of their investigation, Holmes and Watson learn that their main suspect is a descendant of Viktor Frankenstein and has seemingly picked up his work!
Alas, to say much more would be to give away important spoilers so dear reader, I shall have to stop there.
Scott has done admirable work in giving a voice to older Holmes and Watson. There were several moments that had me smiling as the men attempted things that were possible in their younger days only to suffer the consequences and realize getting old is difficult! He also did excellent work with the character of Frankenstein’s monster. Those who read the original book know that he is an eloquent character, well spoken and quite intelligent. Unfortunately the movies (and sometimes books) have cast him as a shambling individual with a childlike intellect. Scott has reminded us that that man was anything but.
If I have any qualms with The Patchwork Devil, it would be how quickly everything was resolved. The whole mystery and bad guy were dealt with in what seemed like a matter of paragraphs. It felt a bit too rushed to my taste.
Other than that, I rather enjoyed this most recent Holmes tale. Readers like myself and those who like a good medical mystery will likely enjoy it as well.