So, sticking with this week’s Conan-Doyle theme, here we have The Doctor teaming up with Sherlock Holmes to fight Lovecraftian monsters. Is there a combination more likely to sing sweet songs to my inner geek?
There’s a lot to look forward to then – and obviously, the chance of hopes being dashed – but the result is actually a lot of fun. The Seventh Doctor here is a much more playful presence than he is in some of the other Virgin New Adventures, Holmes and Watson are for the most part captured beautifully and the story races along excitingly whilst staying just the right side of ludicrous.
Okay, it does fall a bit flat in the last third, The Victorian set-up grounds it in a recognisable literary construct, but that’s eventually jettisoned and the book find itself flailing a bit from there. Part of the problem – as the narrative acknowledges – is that once you take Sherlock Holmes out of his comfort zone, he becomes a lot less effective. A lot of his genius is derived from the fact he knows how things are supposed to work, and when he doesn’t – when he truly enters the DOCTOR WHO world – the fantastic deductions and observations totally dry up. As such it becomes a Doctor Who novel with a bit part for Sherlock Holmes, and that’s a shame as it works so much better with these two titans on a level footing.
Still, even though it doesn’t hold together right to the end, there are cameos from the Third Doctor, the First Doctor and Susan, and ultimately – even with the flaws – this is a novel that made me incredibly happy.
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!