Title: The Revenant of Thraxton Hall
Author: Vaughn Entwistle
Genre: Fiction; Fantasy; Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Acquired: ARC from Netgalley
Date Finished: March 19, 2014
Arthur Conan Doyle has just killed off Sherlock Holmes in “The Final Problem,” and he immediately becomes one of the most hated men in London. So when he is contacted by a medium “of some renown” and asked to investigate a murder, he jumps at the chance to get out of the city. The only thing is that the murder hasn’t happened yet—the medium, one Hope Thraxton, has foreseen that her death will occur at the third séance of a meeting of the Society for Psychical Research at her manor house in the English countryside.
Along for the ride is Conan Doyle’s good friend Oscar Wilde, and together they work to narrow down the list of suspects, which includes a mysterious foreign Count, a levitating magician, and an irritable old woman with a “familiar.” Meanwhile, Conan Doyle is enchanted by the plight of the capricious Hope Thraxton, who may or may not have a more complicated back-story than it first appears. As Conan Doyle and Wilde participate in séances and consider the possible motives of the assembled group, the clock ticks ever closer to Hope’s murder.
I loved this book!! I don’t know if it was my Sherlock Holmes/Arthur Conan Doyle obsession or just the book itself, but I loved it. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not a Sherlock Holmes novel (even though he does make a couple of appearances). The relationship, however, between Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde did remind me of the interactions between Sherlock and Watson. They played off of each other brilliantly throughout the book. Arthur played the straight-laced, stodgy Scot, while Oscar played the flamboyant, eccentric Irishman. They are opposite sides of the same coin and Entwistle breathed life into them. I wanted to be a part of their party. I wanted to join in their witty banter. I wanted to have them as my friends and traveling companions. I know those are really nerdy things to say, but you just fall in love with some characters.
The plot was reminiscent of the old school mystery writers such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. It was British, it was intricate and it didn’t take itself too seriously. It was a little more predictable than the mystery classics, but I didn’t care. I won’t say that I had it all figured out, but I had a hunch that turned out to be true. That didn’t ruin it for me at all.
Again…loved, loved, loved this book. If you have an interest in mysteries or literary characters or great characterizations or wonderful male relationships, read it. It was a fun and fast read. I really hope this is the first of a series. I’d read the next one in a heartbeat!
A special shout-out to Netgalley, Minotaur Books and Vaughn Entwistle for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this ARC.