Finding Inspiration in Every Turn
A novel inspired by a classic story, "The Speckled Band." The beautiful young Isabel Stone arrives at Holmes's doorstep on Baker Street, where she promptly faints and must be carried inside by Vernier. Revived, she tells Holmes that her stepfather has stolen her share of a treasure dating from the Sepoy Mutiny and asks for help. Holmes and Vernier are soon off to Stoke Royal, the country estate of the irascible old Captain Grimbold Pratt, who keeps various exotic birds and animals, including the wolf Kanha and the tiger Rudra. During their stay with Grimbold, Holmes and Vernier are subjected to the worst of English cuisine. Accompanying them is an old friend Jack Murthwaite (from the Moonstone's Curse) who knows Grimbold and has also spent time in India. Soon a suspicious death occurs, and then a murder. Holmes must go beyond appearances to solve the case and find the treasure. This novel has the most comical elements of any in the series.
From the Publishers Weekly review:
At the outset of Siciliano’s excellent seventh Holmes pastiche (after 2018’s The Devil and the Four), which takes its inspiration from Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” 21-year-old Isabel Stone, who lives with her stepfather, Capt. Grimbold Pratt, calls on Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street. Miss Stone has discovered a note from her late mother stating that Pratt and her father, Maj. Hubert Stone, who were stationed in India together, each returned to England decades ago with a share of a treasure-trove of jewels.... Miss Stone hopes Holmes will help her get her rightful inheritance. Siciliano plants suggestions early on that the new client may not be who she seems and that the story line will deviate from that of “The Speckled Band.” This clever mystery is further proof that Siciliano is one of the best contemporary pasticheurs.