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London. A snowy December, 1888. Sherlock Holmes, 34, is languishing and back on cocaine after a disastrous Ripper investigation. Watson can neither comfort nor rouse his friend – until a strangely encoded letter arrives from Paris. Mademoiselle La Victoire, a beautiful French cabaret star writes that her illegitimate son by an English Lord has disappeared, and she has been London. A snowy December, 1888. Sherlock Holmes, 34, is languishing and back on cocaine after a disastrous Ripper investigation. Watson can neither comfort nor rouse his friend – until a strangely encoded letter arrives from Paris. Mademoiselle La Victoire, a beautiful French cabaret star writes that her illegitimate son by an English Lord has disappeared, and she has been attacked in the streets of Montmartre. Racing to Paris with Watson at his side, Holmes discovers the missing child is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem. The most valuable statue since the Winged Victory has been violently stolen in Marseilles, and several children from a silk mill in Lancashire have been found murdered. The clues in all three cases point to a single, untouchable man. Will Holmes recover in time to find the missing boy and stop a rising tide of murders? To do so he must stay one step ahead of a dangerous French rival and the threatening interference of his own brother, Mycroft. This latest adventure, in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, sends the iconic duo from London to Paris and the icy wilds of Lancashire in a case which tests Watson's friendship and the fragility and gifts of Sherlock Holmes' own artistic nature to the limits.


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London. A snowy December, 1888. Sherlock Holmes, 34, is languishing and back on cocaine after a disastrous Ripper investigation. Watson can neither comfort nor rouse his friend – until a strangely encoded letter arrives from Paris. Mademoiselle La Victoire, a beautiful French cabaret star writes that her illegitimate son by an English Lord has disappeared, and she has been London. A snowy December, 1888. Sherlock Holmes, 34, is languishing and back on cocaine after a disastrous Ripper investigation. Watson can neither comfort nor rouse his friend – until a strangely encoded letter arrives from Paris. Mademoiselle La Victoire, a beautiful French cabaret star writes that her illegitimate son by an English Lord has disappeared, and she has been attacked in the streets of Montmartre. Racing to Paris with Watson at his side, Holmes discovers the missing child is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem. The most valuable statue since the Winged Victory has been violently stolen in Marseilles, and several children from a silk mill in Lancashire have been found murdered. The clues in all three cases point to a single, untouchable man. Will Holmes recover in time to find the missing boy and stop a rising tide of murders? To do so he must stay one step ahead of a dangerous French rival and the threatening interference of his own brother, Mycroft. This latest adventure, in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, sends the iconic duo from London to Paris and the icy wilds of Lancashire in a case which tests Watson's friendship and the fragility and gifts of Sherlock Holmes' own artistic nature to the limits.

30 review for Art in the Blood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    Sherlock Holmes is contacted by Mlle La Victorie, a French cabaret singer whose son has disappeared. But it seems that the missing child has links to the theft of a valuable statue. Now Holmes and Dr. Watson must find both the child and the statue. I think I must stop reading Sherlock Holmes books, at least those not written by Arthur Conan Doyle or Laurie R. King. It feels like every single Sherlock Holmes book I have read lately just doesn't work for me. Often Sherlock Holmes just doesn't feel Sherlock Holmes is contacted by Mlle La Victorie, a French cabaret singer whose son has disappeared. But it seems that the missing child has links to the theft of a valuable statue. Now Holmes and Dr. Watson must find both the child and the statue. I think I must stop reading Sherlock Holmes books, at least those not written by Arthur Conan Doyle or Laurie R. King. It feels like every single Sherlock Holmes book I have read lately just doesn't work for me. Often Sherlock Holmes just doesn't feel like Sherlock Holmes, some small changes to him, adjust him to fit the story that is written. Sherlock Holmes in this book was not that bad portrayed and I'm thankful for that. But I struggled with the story, I just couldn't get interested in it. I endured it because I wanted to know the ending and because it wasn't a thick book. But I can't say I enjoyed the book that much. It just lacked something vital for me and frankly, it dragged on way too much for being that interesting to read. I did find Dr. Watson a bit less annoying than usual. Sometimes they make him out to be a bit thickheaded, but in this book, I actually found him quite OK. But on the plus side, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson worked for me, well at least more than I'm used to lately when it comes to Sherlock Holmes pastiches. The downside; the story was not that good. But I loved the cover! Thanks to Collins Crime Club and  Edelweiss for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  2. 5 out of 5

    ♛Tash

    Art in the Blood: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure reads like a cross between Benedict Cumberbatch's/Robert Downey's Sherlock more than Doyle's. Overall though, brushing aside comparison to Doyle's Watson's narration,Art in the Blood: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure is a good read. 3.5 stars.FRTC. Art in the Blood: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure reads like a cross between Benedict Cumberbatch's/Robert Downey's Sherlock more than Doyle's. Overall though, brushing aside comparison to Doyle's Watson's narration,Art in the Blood: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure is a good read. 3.5 stars.FRTC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stacee

    DNF at 33% I was pretty excited about this book. I was intrigued by the premise and I'm mildly obsessed with the tv shows Sherlock and Elementary. My main complaint is that the manic personality of Sherlock depicted so wonderfully in the shows did not translate well in the book. Same goes for the delightful banter between Sherlock and Watson. To me, Sherlock came across as mean and pedantic and that took away any enjoyment. I found myself putting the book down after 20 minutes of starting to rea DNF at 33% I was pretty excited about this book. I was intrigued by the premise and I'm mildly obsessed with the tv shows Sherlock and Elementary. My main complaint is that the manic personality of Sherlock depicted so wonderfully in the shows did not translate well in the book. Same goes for the delightful banter between Sherlock and Watson. To me, Sherlock came across as mean and pedantic and that took away any enjoyment. I found myself putting the book down after 20 minutes of starting to read it and I didn't pick it back up until over 2 weeks later. Only to lose even more interest. I can definitely see how people will be interested in the story, ultimately it just wasn't for me. **Huge thanks to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rena Sherwood

    When Toulouse-Latrec showed up about page 100, I got worried. By page 120, after Mycroft threatens Sherlock with jail and "hard labour" I gave up. What a disappointment! This book has just about everything wrong in a Sherlock Holmes pastiche (Watson writing down curse words? Really? The client repeating her story twice in less than 100 pages? WHY?) and yet it still got published. Lovely cover, though. Too bad it couldn't have been for a book I'd want to give a darn about. When Toulouse-Latrec showed up about page 100, I got worried. By page 120, after Mycroft threatens Sherlock with jail and "hard labour" I gave up. What a disappointment! This book has just about everything wrong in a Sherlock Holmes pastiche (Watson writing down curse words? Really? The client repeating her story twice in less than 100 pages? WHY?) and yet it still got published. Lovely cover, though. Too bad it couldn't have been for a book I'd want to give a darn about.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    One day while I was at work, my mom texted me. She works as a librarian and she knows how much I love Holmes pastiches. She saw this one and thought of me. Sorry mom, but I really didn't like it. Not enough to one star it, but just really annoying. For a while, I thought three stars. Then 2.5. Finally two. Now, I'm hovering around 1.5. My first dud of the year, man. We should celebrate this! (sarcasm) There were just a few things I had a problem with, and I'll try to list them as they came up to m One day while I was at work, my mom texted me. She works as a librarian and she knows how much I love Holmes pastiches. She saw this one and thought of me. Sorry mom, but I really didn't like it. Not enough to one star it, but just really annoying. For a while, I thought three stars. Then 2.5. Finally two. Now, I'm hovering around 1.5. My first dud of the year, man. We should celebrate this! (sarcasm) There were just a few things I had a problem with, and I'll try to list them as they came up to me while I was reading. Keep in mind, I read this in one sitting, so I really didn't have any time to just sit there and put it aside. I made myself read it with a brief break to read my chapter for the buddy read I'm doing. 1) The writing. I realized it from the very first page, honestly. Holmes and Watson were too familiar for my liking. The dialogue came out stilted no matter who it was with. The writing wasn't even close to Victorian. It wasn't like there was any attempt at all. I mean, if you're going to make it like modern writing, then make it a modern book. I'd love to read a Holmes pastiche set in modern times like in BBC's Sherlock! Then, don't even get me started on the random French. I don't know a lick of French, so I had to keep a tab for Google Translate to help myself through full sentences that were just in French without a translation. Even random words weren't translated. Do you know how annoying it is to have that? I expect it in classic books, but one that was published just last year? It doesn't work for me. 2) Holmes. Yeah, no. It wasn't Holmes. It was some odd caricature of him. I'm all for making him softer and more approachable, but he was just wrong. I can't even describe it because it was just a gut feeling I had from the first few chapters, that only deepened when I got further into the book. 3) The mystery. I didn't like it. At all. It just felt too random and I didn't enjoy it at all. I can't really describe what I didn't like, but I found I didn't care about anything. Not the kids, the people, what happened, the random French people who were there. Nope. Nothing. So, I'm giving this a generous 1.5 rating even though I didn't even bother reading the last couple chapters. Just skimmed. I don't think I'm going to continue with this series, especially since the next one involved a secret from Holmes' past that's likely related to some woman.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Yzabel Ginsberg

    [I received a copy of this novel through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.] Decent but nothing to write home about. While I found myself excited at first, because it was reminiscent of actual Sherlock Holmes adventures, I also ended up losing touch fairly easily, and not being really interested in what was happening. Perhaps because of the hints at a potential attraction toward the French artist (I don't know... for me, Irene Adler still remains the only woman for Sherlock). Or because [I received a copy of this novel through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.] Decent but nothing to write home about. While I found myself excited at first, because it was reminiscent of actual Sherlock Holmes adventures, I also ended up losing touch fairly easily, and not being really interested in what was happening. Perhaps because of the hints at a potential attraction toward the French artist (I don't know... for me, Irene Adler still remains the only woman for Sherlock). Or because the mystery itself seemed to drag, and to lack the usual “punch” I expect in a Holmes & Watson adventure. I thought Sherlock overlooked quite a few things, and made a few too many mistakes here, mistakes that didn't ring “true” to his character. Granted, I haven't read any of the original stories in a few years; however, I don't remember him as endangering himself so because he miscalculated an enemy's move, for instance. He felt and acted as less acute than his usual self here, and all in all, he wasn't the Holmes I'm used to: making him more approachable didn't work here, and seeing his judgment sometimes impaired by tepid emotions was... strange. He was too remote from Doyle's Sherlock, yet didn't bring anything original or particularly interesting to the character. (On the other hand, Watson wasn't introduced, nor acted, as the bumbling idiot he too often is in too many stories, which is always good in my opinion!) The mystery itself was so-so. Not particularly interesting, a bit all over the place (France, London, art, potential love interests, kids disappearing, shifty French detective, Vidocq, a suspicious gaoler, silk trade...), beating around the bush, Mycroft's way of getting involved and making things easier for the characters—resulting in not much investigating on their part where there should've been... I suppose the themes it raised, like children treated as slaves or worse, should've been treated more seriously, only some of this was just thrown in, especially at the end, and its impact thus lowered. The writing itself: not terrific either. Not emulating a “Victorian” style of writing, not close to Doyle's, too modern in parts... It didn't do much for me. Same with the “art” part, and the way it could've ran parallel with investigation methods: it didn't deliver. 1.5/2 stars. I can't say I hated it, but I just didn't care.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    That cover and title are so good I almost bought a signed copy without even knowing if the book was crap or not. 3.5 Stars This is one of the neatest things I've seen concerning a book extra. http://www.macbird.com/aitb/notes/ These are the illustrated annotations for the novel. They are spoilerific, but are broken into chapters so one won't accidentally spoil themselves. They are also written in a way that keeps with the narrative that the story is a restored copy of something Watson wrote. It's That cover and title are so good I almost bought a signed copy without even knowing if the book was crap or not. 3.5 Stars This is one of the neatest things I've seen concerning a book extra. http://www.macbird.com/aitb/notes/ These are the illustrated annotations for the novel. They are spoilerific, but are broken into chapters so one won't accidentally spoil themselves. They are also written in a way that keeps with the narrative that the story is a restored copy of something Watson wrote. It's a nice touch. This is an interesting book in that it is set back with the original tales by Doyle, but isn't as stuffy as Victorian works tend to be. Some of the original voices come through, but you also hear more modern voices as well. One of my comments while reading one of the opening chapters was that I could see Cumberbatch in the scene. If you are a strict "Doyle's style is the only style" type person... then why are you even considering reading anything else? You won't mistake this for Doyle. But Doyle can be stuffy and long-winded, so I don't consider that an automatic negative. Instead, we get more action in our story, and at least some subject matter that I am not sure Doyle would have ever written. Let's just say Victorian sensibilities may have had trouble with some of the crimes presented. But if you're fine with that going in, this is a good ride. Holmes gets caught off-guard more than I've ever seen him, which is both concerning and really interesting at the same time. Watson is still Watson, for better or worse. One doesn't get the same "Holmes is an impossible genius" vibe from this one though. Personally, I enjoy when Holmes solves the mysteries of the universe by noticing a single cat hair, but there isn't much of that here. Oh, he still notices things no one else does, but I never got the moment of "oh wow, Holmes is omniscient" that one can get in other Sherlock stories. There's a small bit of "stupid for the sake of plot," but it is difficult to really say that with conviction because it is mostly new characters being stupid, so it may just be character flaws. I suppose. Overall, it's a good Holmes book with a healthy splash of BBC Sherlock in with the Doyle.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gerry

    I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan but I believe one cannot beat the Conan Doyle originals. But I am always prepared to try a Holmes' pastiche, if only to see how more modern writers portray him and Watson. However, 'Art in the Blood' just didn't do it for me at all; try as she might Bonnie MacBird just did not get that Holmes/Watson relationship quite right and with brother Mycroft regularly muscling in - attempting to be as clever as Sherlock - and the introduction of such as Toulouse Lautre (why I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan but I believe one cannot beat the Conan Doyle originals. But I am always prepared to try a Holmes' pastiche, if only to see how more modern writers portray him and Watson. However, 'Art in the Blood' just didn't do it for me at all; try as she might Bonnie MacBird just did not get that Holmes/Watson relationship quite right and with brother Mycroft regularly muscling in - attempting to be as clever as Sherlock - and the introduction of such as Toulouse Lautre (why?) and French detective Jean Vidocq (a poor characterisation), the plot rambles along, flitting about all over the place. There is a stolen statue, an apparent kidnapping of a child, a French woman attacked on the streets of Montmartre and bodies of young children discovered and this little lot needs putting together to get the gist of the story. It was certainly a convoluted plot, flitting about all over the place, leaving this particular reader wondering what on earth was going on and how it was all going to come together. I did start the book with eager anticipation and in fairness there are some good ambient moments, particularly early on in the book, but my enthusiasm soon waned and the more I read the worse the book got. And when I read Watson's remark, 'I had begun to doubt our own abilities. Holmes and I had made one mistake after another', I just thought 'No, surely not Holmes and Watson?' In the end I was delighted to finish the book (how I am not sure as it tested my reading patience) but it left me with an empty feeling and a couldn't care less attitude. What a pity. So, despite my liking for Holmes' pastiches I don't think I will be trying any others in this series. Sorry Bonnie MacBird.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I'm always on the look out for Holmesian stories and Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBord hit almost all the right notes. I really got a kick out of reading her version of Holmes and Watson who are very much a mash up of Jeremy Brett and Robert Downey Jr as Holmes and David Burke and Jude Law as Watson with just a dash of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman to top it off. I also really appreciated that we get to see Watson take the spotlight as the action begins to follow him directly in the f I'm always on the look out for Holmesian stories and Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBord hit almost all the right notes. I really got a kick out of reading her version of Holmes and Watson who are very much a mash up of Jeremy Brett and Robert Downey Jr as Holmes and David Burke and Jude Law as Watson with just a dash of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman to top it off. I also really appreciated that we get to see Watson take the spotlight as the action begins to follow him directly in the final quarter of the novel. I can't wait to continue this series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris Apolant

    For several months, I had 'Art In The Blood' on pre-order, which is something I almost never do, and was greatly looking forward to a book that gave every appearance of being a traditionally penned Sherlock Holmes story. Alas, it disappoints me to admit not only was this nothing of the sort, it has also gone a fair way in causing me to reconsider the wisdom in continuing to read pastiches by modern writers. It has been apparent for a while now that certain television and movie characterizations For several months, I had 'Art In The Blood' on pre-order, which is something I almost never do, and was greatly looking forward to a book that gave every appearance of being a traditionally penned Sherlock Holmes story. Alas, it disappoints me to admit not only was this nothing of the sort, it has also gone a fair way in causing me to reconsider the wisdom in continuing to read pastiches by modern writers. It has been apparent for a while now that certain television and movie characterizations have leaked into published Holmes novels, yet here, the author maintains a pathetic knowledge of Canon and, as she admits herself, makes no attempt whatsoever in imitating the characterization or writing style (the latter, I admit, is far less of an issue) of Doyle's creations. Therefore, before the story itself began to fall apart, my main gripe was that these men referred to as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were anything but; though her Watson is not so lamentable, and even fairly good at times, Holmes was entirely unrecognizable to this stodgy old Canon purist. On that note, however, it must be said that the greatest flaw of this book was not actually the intentionally skewered characterizations, but what passed for its plot. After Watson is married and his wife is away visiting her mother (apparently, Mary Morstan is not an orphan in this author's world), he is summoned to Baker Street, where Holmes is languishing in a black mood after a stint in prison. Nothing the doctor can do rouses him, until an interesting missive requesting his assistance in the possible kidnapping of the woman's young boy comes along. Holmes then journeys to Paris, where it appears, aside from some utter twaddle regarding the man becoming besotted with a client, there lies a nice, juicy mystery ahead. Except, this is where the plot begins to unravel and the nonsense begins. Along with this investigation of the disappeared child, Mycroft has enlisted Holmes to look into the whereabouts of a stolen statue which it turns out connects to the kidnapping case. Instead of the two plots intersecting gradually, after interviewing the Parisian woman, Holmes and Watson magically end up at a nightclub where the most utterly ridiculous and extraneous "action" scene transpires. There, he meets Vidocq (can we say derivative?), who has also been enlisted by the child's mother/his paramour. Of course, being the glorified fanfiction this is, we get to see a jealous!Holmes whose emotions cloud his judgement. Not, in all honesty, that it would matter, because this kidnapping "investigation" goes absolutely nowhere, not even in a circle as it chases its own tail, and after a second, pointless interview with the child's mother, Holmes arrives in London and gets the solution to the case handed to him on a silver platter by Mycroft. You read this correctly. At around page 110, Mycroft basically just tells him where the boy is, and as a favor for this piece of information, has his brother go undercover at the house of the boy's adopted parents, who, we just magically are told out of thin air, is the art thief who stole the statue. To be fair, Holmes does find this out himself whilst disguised at the docks, but there is not even a sentence of explanation as to how he made the connection betwixt the shipping yards and the thief. Loose threads such as this littered the story, and really made it impossible to continue holding my attention when we know everything from motive to perpetrator 1/3 of the way through the story. In short, though I am loath to leave books unfinished, it took me five or six days just to slog through to somewhere over page 230, where I finally had to admit defeat. An airy, insubstantial, incredibly dumbed down version of Doyle's creation, the Holmes we were presented with here was but a pale intimation of that great intellect, the "introspective and pallid dreamer of Baker Street", and replaced with an action figure more suited for modern audiences who prefer to check their little grey cells at the front door in regards to their reading material. Quite frankly, this was BBC fanfiction with a thinly veiled Sherlock & John in something vaguely resembling the Victorian era, and although saying as much will no doubt get me burned in effigy, it is indeed a sad day if this is what the future of pastiche is destined to become. In conclusion, this is not a recommended read for Holmesians, those of that dying breed who prefer the intellectualism of the originals over sensationalism. I also noticed this book was not endorsed by the ACD estate, and whilst that has never been a factor which weighed at all with me, if this is what does /not/ get approved or vetted by the estate, then I might just have to reconsider that stance.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Albert

    Art in the Blood: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure by Bonnie MacBird tells the tale of an older and somewhat bitter Sherlock Holmes. Feeling betrayed by his brother and the country he loves after a disastrous investigation into the Jack the Ripper murders, Holmes has fallen into a back under the influence of the drug, cocaine. In December of 1888, Watson finds his friend listless and unresponsive. Fearing Holmes is fallen into a bout of depression that is fueled by his drug use, Watson implores the g Art in the Blood: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure by Bonnie MacBird tells the tale of an older and somewhat bitter Sherlock Holmes. Feeling betrayed by his brother and the country he loves after a disastrous investigation into the Jack the Ripper murders, Holmes has fallen into a back under the influence of the drug, cocaine. In December of 1888, Watson finds his friend listless and unresponsive. Fearing Holmes is fallen into a bout of depression that is fueled by his drug use, Watson implores the great detective to rouse himself. But it is only when a letter arrives from Paris that Holmes awakens. A beautiful French cabaret singer is attacked on the streets of Montmartre and her young son has vanished. But when Holmes investigates he finds that the missing child may only be the beginning of the mystery to unfold. Political intrigue and the theft of valuable statues cloud the disappearance of the child. Then comes the bodies of young children consigned to labor in a silk mill in Lancashire. The very silk mill owned by the father of the missing child. All clues seem to implicate an English nobleman, an art collector who seems to be beyond the reach of the law. Sherlock Holmes must find the missing boy before he becomes the next victim of the child murderer. But can he shake his addiction in time and what of the aggressive French detective? Is he ally or foe. And there is his own brother to contend with. Mycroft, who in the name of Queen and Country will sacrifice another small child to keep any scandal quiet. The problem with picking up such established characters that are widely known and adored as the Sherlock Holmes cast is that if you have nothing truly fresh to add to the lexicon, then you must tell the tale in the same manner as was told by its original author. Truthfully, to write as Conan Doyle is a task too great for any writer to take on. Art in the Blood is more in the realm of Nicholas Meyer's The Seven Per Cent Solution and for a good portion of the tale holds its own. But as it moves the story from the streets of Paris back to the English countryside the story changes into something that for many Baker Street Irregulars will become something less recognizable as Holmes and Watson turn from their literary selves into the caricatures that were the Robert Downey Jr. films of late. Fun perhaps. Exciting even. But not Holmes and Watson. I wish MacBird had made more of rivalry between Holmes and the French detective Jean Vidocq. This French detective is often credited with being the first true private detective. Lambasted by Conan Doyle and Edgar Allen Poe, Vidocq actually put together the first detective agency in 1834. Decades before Scotland Yard created the Crime Squad and America had its very own Pinkerton Agency. Vidocq, it should be added, was the inspiration for Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. Instead here, he is a womanizer, who preys on the vulnerability of a distressed mother to take the glory from Holmes and solve the case himself. His intentions motivated by lust or money or fame. A true battle of wits between the two detectives would have been far more entertaining for those who enjoy Holmes and Watson. Over all this is a weak effort in the vast ocean that is the Sherlock Holmes universe.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Art in the Blood is a pastiche with one of my favorite characters, Sherlock Holmes, and is an engaging tale and a promising series that I'm looking forward to reading more of. One of the aspects of this book that is the best is the research of author Bonnie MacBird. She is genius at including all the sidebar items of history that make fiction sing for me. And, the reading of Art in the Blood isn't the end of those fascinating tidbits. It is simply a required part of this reading to visit the aut Art in the Blood is a pastiche with one of my favorite characters, Sherlock Holmes, and is an engaging tale and a promising series that I'm looking forward to reading more of. One of the aspects of this book that is the best is the research of author Bonnie MacBird. She is genius at including all the sidebar items of history that make fiction sing for me. And, the reading of Art in the Blood isn't the end of those fascinating tidbits. It is simply a required part of this reading to visit the author's Web site and read through, listed by chapters, her illustrated annotations. I'm such a fan of authors going the extra mile to enhance the reading experience, and MacBird does that and then some. This Sherlock tale takes place in Sherlock's rather early days, as he is 34 and is in the throes of a depression over his inability to bring closure to the Ripper investigation. Newly wedded friend Watson, having been preoccupied with his new wife and living arrangements, is distressed to find Holmes in a cocaine-induced stupor when he at last visits Baker Street. A solution to Holmes' state arrives on the heels of Watson's appearance in the form of a letter from Paris, a letter requiring the skills of Sherlock Holmes to even read it. The letter is a request for help from a beautiful French cabaret singer (is there any other kind of French cabaret singer), a Mademoiselle La Victoire, whose son is missing. To complicate matters, the son is the illegitimate child of an English Earle, who has been raising the boy as his and his wife's own. Sherlock jumps into action with he and Watson running for the train to Paris. Of course, finding the child will be the easy part of this adventure. There is lost art, megalomaniac and ruthless men, murder most foul, long-kept secrets, more missing children and Sherlock's brother Mycroft all thrown into the danger that must be faced. Sherlock seems the only one who could possibly connect all the dots and resolve all the problems, but he himself will be tested like never before.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carson

    My favorite Holmes stories are the ones I can read and they feel like Holmes, and I know little difference between the actions and reactions from the characters I first met thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. "Art in the Blood" jumps quickly into an intriguing plot, introduces secondary characters who have some skin in the game, and - while it's difficult for stories like this to put our heroes into dire straits - really challenges our protagonists. Fast-paced, several intriguing subplots, Holmes My favorite Holmes stories are the ones I can read and they feel like Holmes, and I know little difference between the actions and reactions from the characters I first met thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. "Art in the Blood" jumps quickly into an intriguing plot, introduces secondary characters who have some skin in the game, and - while it's difficult for stories like this to put our heroes into dire straits - really challenges our protagonists. Fast-paced, several intriguing subplots, Holmes at his best and regular twists and turns make "Art in the Blood" an excellent, enjoyable read for any Holmes fans.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    Good story. Unfortunately, I did not care much for the audiobook. If I go on with the series, it will be text, not audio.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mary Pagones

    I loved the characterization of Watson as a loyal, intelligent, and loving partner. My favorite scenes from the book are when Watson goes to great lengths to help his friend, including *hope this isn't too much of a spoiler* an impromptu blood transfusion. The characterization of Holmes, however, was quite problematic. It reminded me more of a drug-addled Robert Downey Jr. Holmes than the canonical Holmes, and I was never a big fan of the Guy Ritchie-directed series. Also, Holmes *more spoilers* I loved the characterization of Watson as a loyal, intelligent, and loving partner. My favorite scenes from the book are when Watson goes to great lengths to help his friend, including *hope this isn't too much of a spoiler* an impromptu blood transfusion. The characterization of Holmes, however, was quite problematic. It reminded me more of a drug-addled Robert Downey Jr. Holmes than the canonical Holmes, and I was never a big fan of the Guy Ritchie-directed series. Also, Holmes *more spoilers* does many things because of his addiction canon Holmes would never do, such as setting things on fire by accident and giving away his disguise when hot coffee is poured upon him (out of involuntary surprise). Points for having a strong female client at the center of the mystery, but unlike Doyle (despite my mockery of his flashbacks) who creates very elegant, easy-to-follow mysteries (no matter how improbable) with memorable characters, I found this story's plot to be unnecessarily convoluted and the supporting characters rather poorly defined, so I didn't particularly care about the resolution. I enjoyed the bits between Holmes and Watson, though, and MacBird's style is very engaging and readable. The cover is fantastic.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    What an absolute pleasure it was to immerse myself in Art in the Blood…a fun homage which is so very true to Conan Doyle’s style. Like the original, Holmes is brilliant, witty, annoying, fearless, and wonderfully vulnerable. And Watson remains the friend we all want to have. What captured me most was MacBird’s ability to include factoids about the historical period that literally and figuratively transported me. She has posted annotations (http://www.aitbnotes.com) that bring every detail to lif What an absolute pleasure it was to immerse myself in Art in the Blood…a fun homage which is so very true to Conan Doyle’s style. Like the original, Holmes is brilliant, witty, annoying, fearless, and wonderfully vulnerable. And Watson remains the friend we all want to have. What captured me most was MacBird’s ability to include factoids about the historical period that literally and figuratively transported me. She has posted annotations (http://www.aitbnotes.com) that bring every detail to life. Doyle would have loved these! This is confident and expert storytelling. I hope for more by this creative author.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Roz (Seventyeight.Sundays)

    It was okay, I love the writing style and the pace is alright. Story is a bit dragging near the end and Sherlock doesn't feel like Sherlock. I know he's a deeply flawed character but emphasising too much on his emotional state is a bit much. Oh and it's a 3.5 star rounded down to 3. I will still rrad book 2.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    The book is nothing ground breaking but its a nice read. Well written and plays nicely on the characters. Srory line was quite good and didn't deviate too much from how the characters should be. Not as brilliant as House of Silk but still a decent read

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tinneal

    The story left a few events and details unanswered, and the end was a tad unrealistic, but overall it was a very enjoyable read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    meghann

    This was the B&N Nook serial read for the month of March. I was pleasantly surprised by this month's book. I love me some Sherlock, and I felt this author did a great job continuing the story. It's interesting how divided people are on the reviews for this book. They either loved it or despised it with the intensity of 1000 burning suns. I found the story to be engaging and entertaining. This was one of the few serial reads that tempted me to purchase the book so I didn't have to wait until the n This was the B&N Nook serial read for the month of March. I was pleasantly surprised by this month's book. I love me some Sherlock, and I felt this author did a great job continuing the story. It's interesting how divided people are on the reviews for this book. They either loved it or despised it with the intensity of 1000 burning suns. I found the story to be engaging and entertaining. This was one of the few serial reads that tempted me to purchase the book so I didn't have to wait until the next chapter posted the following day to find out what happened next. I will definitely be reading the next book in this series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alistair Duncan

    Now I don't normally review pastiche but I have made an exception. I am fairly well known for avoiding pastiche and being critical of it. This is purely and simply because I have been disappointed again and again by what is produced today. A pastiche (and I'm using this as an umbrella term for homage too) can fail due to poor grammar/spelling (a far too common occurrence), a lack of authenticity (non Victorian language, etc.) or just a downright rubbish plot and/or characterization. I think I am st Now I don't normally review pastiche but I have made an exception. I am fairly well known for avoiding pastiche and being critical of it. This is purely and simply because I have been disappointed again and again by what is produced today. A pastiche (and I'm using this as an umbrella term for homage too) can fail due to poor grammar/spelling (a far too common occurrence), a lack of authenticity (non Victorian language, etc.) or just a downright rubbish plot and/or characterization. I think I am strict because I was spoiled at the beginning. I read some good ones and they simply set the bar too high for the dross that has largely followed. As a result, I avoided reading, much less reviewing, pastiche. I made an exception for The House of Silk and wished that I hadn't (if I was a teacher I'd have written must try harder on it). I therefore picked up Bonnie MacBird's book with a great degree of nervousness. So what do we have? We basically have a mystery with three strands...a missing statue, a missing aristocratic child, and some worrying child deaths. The action takes us from London to Paris to London to Lancashire and so on. Really amateur pastiche writers shoe-horn in as many well known characters from the original stories as they can in a vain attempt to increase their story's authenticity. As a rule of thumb, the more that are crammed in, the worse the story will be. Here we have Holmes and Watson (naturally); but we also have Mycroft, Lestrade and Mrs Hudson. The latter two are little more than cameos. This was reassuring. A few names - yes; but many barely used and, importantly, no Moriarty lurking in the shadows. So far so good. The action moves at a pace and takes you with it. True, there are no breathtaking feats of deduction from Holmes but, aside from this, I found the story's style and Watsonian voice very close to the original (but that's a matter of personal preference). My only criticism is that one aspect to the crimes is one that Conan Doyle would never have written and his contemporary audience would not have accepted. Like Horowitz, we have a crime more suited to modern audiences. By that I don't mean it is one we relish but one, alas, that we've grown accustomed to hearing and reading about. But I guess we need to ask ourselves if a modern audience really wants to read about Victorian style crimes. Well of course they do or the original Canon would be long out of print but perhaps from a modern writer the expectations are different - I really don't know. All the above said, this book has made me feel better about contemporary pastiche and for that Bonnie MacBird gets my thanks. For me this is the best pastiche since The Seven Per-cent Solution and that is bar none.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Actual rating 2.5 stars. The following review was originally posted on my book blog The Book Challengers. I actually wanted to read this book because of its pretty cover as there's something about book covers in black, white and red that appeals to me... It's sooooo beautiful even with the blood droplets right next to Sherlock!!! I thought that the blurb was intriguing and decided to give it a shot although I have never been a very big fan of Sherlock Holmes on paper. I prefer to get to know him Actual rating 2.5 stars. The following review was originally posted on my book blog The Book Challengers. I actually wanted to read this book because of its pretty cover as there's something about book covers in black, white and red that appeals to me... It's sooooo beautiful even with the blood droplets right next to Sherlock!!! I thought that the blurb was intriguing and decided to give it a shot although I have never been a very big fan of Sherlock Holmes on paper. I prefer to get to know him in movies. But hey, who can blame me as both Cumberbatch and Downey jr. have portrayed Holmes very well. There was plenty of mystery in this story and I *think* it portrayed Holmes pretty well. But hey, I have only read a few of the original stories and maybe it was simply the translator's good work. But maybe not, as a few of the readers who have read the English version also said that it portrayed Holmes quite well. But there are also plenty of readers who say that this Holmes is basically a travesty and old heroes such as Sherlock Holmes should not be rewritten by contemporary writers. Too bad that the entire story didn't grip me like I wished it to. Yes, there was mystery. There was a lot of crime. There were problems both Holmes and Watson had to face. And while I rather liked the story, I actually wanted more as I don't there was a part that made me want to grip the edge of my seat because I was nervous about these events. Or at the very least I don't think I remember anything quite like it and is it really so much to want?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This book shows the usual problem of pastiches - 1. It relies too much on film versions 2. Anachronisms in language and behavior 3. Not a sense of what Victorian people actually did. 4. Too many names dropped (such as Lautrec) - does Holmes really know every famous person in the 19th century? 5. Problematical use of French language, dropped in at odd places with no explanation. (I read French, know all these terms. Maybe she needs to actually study the language?) In addition, an unconvincing story li This book shows the usual problem of pastiches - 1. It relies too much on film versions 2. Anachronisms in language and behavior 3. Not a sense of what Victorian people actually did. 4. Too many names dropped (such as Lautrec) - does Holmes really know every famous person in the 19th century? 5. Problematical use of French language, dropped in at odd places with no explanation. (I read French, know all these terms. Maybe she needs to actually study the language?) In addition, an unconvincing story line, inconsistency in the relationship of Holmes and Watson, and Mary Watson's mother is dead! She says so in SIGN. Research, research, research.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    This is quite a thrilling, complicated novel with all sorts of plots and sub-plots twisting and turning to great effect. Holmes and Watson dash across the channel to try and solve a mystery involving a charming French chanteuse. M. Vidocq, former criminal and future police chief join in, engaging in a not very friendly rivalry with Holmes. The trail leads back to England and involves Moriarty, art theft, international intrigue, the exploitation of child labour in the mining industry and oh a lot This is quite a thrilling, complicated novel with all sorts of plots and sub-plots twisting and turning to great effect. Holmes and Watson dash across the channel to try and solve a mystery involving a charming French chanteuse. M. Vidocq, former criminal and future police chief join in, engaging in a not very friendly rivalry with Holmes. The trail leads back to England and involves Moriarty, art theft, international intrigue, the exploitation of child labour in the mining industry and oh a lot of other twisted things. It's a rich plum pudding of a crime novel, and to my mind very true to the tone and verve of the original canon.

  25. 4 out of 5

    ShanDizzy

    I enjoyed reading this great pastiche which, in my opinion, and without qualms, can be added to the Holmes canon. (This praise is from an unashamed Holmes purist.) I am certain that ACD would beam with approval at this fast-moving and intriguing adventure featuring his beloved characters. Ms. MacBird has truly kept to the essence of Holmes/Watson. While the other side of Holmes' family were English country squires, and therefore probably more conventional (though I could not be sure), I have alwa I enjoyed reading this great pastiche which, in my opinion, and without qualms, can be added to the Holmes canon. (This praise is from an unashamed Holmes purist.) I am certain that ACD would beam with approval at this fast-moving and intriguing adventure featuring his beloved characters. Ms. MacBird has truly kept to the essence of Holmes/Watson. While the other side of Holmes' family were English country squires, and therefore probably more conventional (though I could not be sure), I have always felt, after learning of Holmes' French ancestry, that it explained something of his 'art in the blood' theory.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Giusti

    For those who love the adventures of Sherlock Holmes this book is a must read for you. Sherlock and Watson take you on a wild ride to Paris upon receiving a letter for there immediate help. Is it a story about a missing child or is there more to it? You won't be able to stop reading this once you start. Captivating and intense this fast-paced action will keep you guessing until the end. Get Sherlocked today with Art in the Blood.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kati

    I'm not a big fan of Holmes portrayed as omnipotent. On the other hand, I also dislike it intensely when authors dumb him down and let him make one stupid mistake after another. Like in this book. Also, in the fanfiction community, there's a word for what Holmes is in this book: a woobie. Or, that one poor, fragile, always physically hurt, always suffering, always in despair and danger character. The author went way over the top here and by the end, I couldn't help but roll my eyes a little.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This has become my favorite "Sherlock" pastiche. Masterfully written! I can't wait for MacBird's next book!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    It’s late November, 1888, and as cold and dreary inside 221B as it is outside…at least, until the fire. Not a cozy fire in the hearth, but an actual fire which, but for the intervention of firemen, could have burned 221 Baker Street to the ground. Not that Sherlock Holmes particularly cares. When Watson (who is now married, but was summoned by his former landlady) finds him, he is laying on the settee, His hair awry, his face ashen with lack of sleep and sustenance, he looked, quite frankly, at d It’s late November, 1888, and as cold and dreary inside 221B as it is outside…at least, until the fire. Not a cozy fire in the hearth, but an actual fire which, but for the intervention of firemen, could have burned 221 Baker Street to the ground. Not that Sherlock Holmes particularly cares. When Watson (who is now married, but was summoned by his former landlady) finds him, he is laying on the settee, His hair awry, his face ashen with lack of sleep and sustenance, he looked, quite frankly, at death’s door. He lay shivering on the couch, clothed in a shabby purple dressing gown. An old red blanket tangled around his feet and with a quick movement, he yanked it up to cover his face." Watson learns from Mrs. Hudson that Holmes has been this way ever since he was briefly put in jail for tampering with evidence in the Ripper case–something which shocks the doctor. He could not help his friend then, but he tries to do so now, and resolves to treat him as a patient and to sit with him until he can get him out of the dark and miserable place his much-vaunted brain has become. As Dr. Watson tells us: I have been loath to write in detail about Holmes’s artistic nature, lest it reveal a vulnerability in him that could place him in danger. It is well known that in exchange for visionary powers, artists often suffer with extreme sensitivity and violent changeability of temperament. A philosophical crisis, or simply the boredom, of inactivity could send Holmes spinning into a paralysed gloom from which I could not retrieve him. His ministrations are not nearly as effective as the arrival of a good case, however. Although Holmes has refused a request from Mycroft to look into something regarding “E/P,” he jumps at the chance to help a beautiful French chanteuse find her son. Ten year-old Emil does not know that Mlle. la Victoire is his mother; as far as he is concerned, he is the son of the Earl of Pellingham and his wife, daughter of an American industrialist. He is only half-right. Having lost her own child as an infant, Lady Pellingham agreed to raise Emil as her own; his mother has only been allowed to see him once a year, at Christmas, and even then under the guise of being a family friend. This year, however, she tells Holmes, she received a letter telling her that, not only will she never be allowed to see her son again, but that her life will be in danger if she disobeys–a threat underlined by a physical attack a few days later. Mycroft’s case of international art theft (with diplomatic complications) has nothing on this damsel in distress and her endangered child. Fortunately for the British Government, they turn out to be linked…and linked in such a way as to hide a dark and unimaginable conspiracy. Watson is a master at making the most wicked villains (Baron Gruner, Sarah Cushing, James Moriarty) and twisted plots (“The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” The Hound of the Baskervilles) suitable for a general audience. In this case, which the author (editor?) found hidden in a collection of papers in the Wellcome Library, he tries his best, but one can’t help but think that the reason it never saw publication had not so much to do with the nobility of the participants as it did the horrific nature of the crime. Art in the Blood is exceptionally well-written. I must admit to having a weakness for prose that does all kinds of artsy things and/or features Ponderous Moral Observations. I particularly love being punched in the gut by Deep Thoughts on Human Nature. Art in the Blood is not really that kind of book, which is one of its great strengths. After all, as much as Holmes accused him of romanticizing everything, Watson actually tended to stick to the facts of his cases, rather than musing too much on the psychological makeups of villains, victims, or detectives. He focuses on the crime, the clues, and the solution–the excitement of the thing--for he is, after all, a man of action. Art in the Blood, while it may occasionally hint at the emotional lives of its characters, is very much a mystery and an adventure, told in a highly visual, cinematic fashion. As for the book’s original characters–these are both generally necessary in a pastiche–and potential disasters. However much an author loves Sherlock Holmes and (or) Dr. Watson, the temptation to either pay too much attention to one’s own character, or even to live through him or her, is a strong one. Ms. MacBird brings in several major original characters, all of whom are well-drawn, but only one is a real scene-stealer. Still, the grandson of the famous Vidocq is so amusingly full of himself that it’s easy to forgive him, and to allow him his Big Moment when it finally comes. Many Sherlockians don’t appreciate much departure from Conan Doyle. If this is you, I am happy to report, that Art in the Blood is quite canonical. I couldn’t find any real issues with its relationship to 221B. Mary does go on an extended visit to see her mother, and we know from The Sign of Four that her mother was actually dead…but as her own husband claims such a visit in “The Five Orange Pips,” it becomes strangely all the more accurate for its Watsonian nature. As for the other details, Art in the Blood is meticulously researched. People and places are where the book says they are, when it says they are, and if the reader wants to know more, there is a list of annotations and research notes online at http://www.macbird.com/aitb/notes/. At the same time, the narrative doesn’t get bogged down with period details, always a danger with historical accounts. There is a teeny bit of “as you know” explication when Sherlock tells Watson about his relatives, the Vernets, but one gets the impression that life with Sherlock Holmes was probably filled with such moments. An unreliable Watson and a pedantic Sherlock Holmes? You can probably infer from that that I believe that Ms. MacBird keeps our heroes in character, and yes–she does. She refers to their well-known foibles in creative ways–without just using quotes from the Canon. Therefore, we know that Watson is still a ladies’ man, not because anyone mentions “three continents,” but because he both claims to the reader that he has never seen shapely legs displayed in a cancan…but really hopes that will change. His humorous asides and sensitivities (such as his hurt when Holmes puts Mlle. la Victoire up in his old room) remind me a little bit of Nigel Bruce–in a good way--but he’s consistently the brave, loyal, intelligent physician who’s been missing the excitement of his former life. Holmes is the man of logic and determination, working hard to keep the lid on those “hidden fires” of his own past and current affections. Some may find his obvious–but never blatant attraction to Mlle. la Victoire anti-canonical, but really, it isn’t. Depending on how one reads The Sign of the Four, Holmes may well have been attracted to Mary Morstan before Watson made his own feelings obvious. Their client is every bit as clever (possibly more so) than the much-admired Irene Adler, and her method of both attracting Holmes’ attention and making sure he’s as good as everyone says impresses him. Holmes’ concern for children, as evidenced in his work with the Baker Street Irregulars and his concern for the young Lord Saltire in “The Adventure of the Priory School,” shines through in this book, particularly in one touching instance involving Beeton’s Christmas Annual. While not everyone enjoys glimpses into Holmes’ psyche, some of us do, and Ms. MacBird deftly supplies both sorts of reader, by providing small hints about the Great Detective’s past, while never going much further than that. Often when reading pastiche, I get the feeling that I’m reading a story written by a Sherlockian for a Sherlockian. We have our own lingo, our own inside jokes, our knowledge of obscure Canonical disputes, a long list of quotes–and we enjoy trotting them out for each other. This is all fine, of course (see what I did there? Huh? Huh?), but when it comes to making new convert…er, introducing people to the canonical Sherlock Holmes, stories featuring buckets of acronyms, Easter egg references to the third episode of the Ronald Howard series, and quotes from Gillette’s play are probably not the best way to go about it. If you want your best friend to win the Mycroft one day, you have to start with books which make our heroes both real–and accessible. I guarantee you that your friends and family will be able to read Art in the Blood without texting you questions–and they will find it compelling and suspenseful enough to be honest when you ask them if they’ve read it. When they next venture into the Canon–which they may well do–they will find the heroes they just met (although you may have to explain the whole Victorian flashback thing). And they’ll wonder about all of those cases in Watson’s dispatch box, because, well, they need more. Ms. MacBird leaves Holmes and Watson in a good place (this isn’t a spoiler, as we know they live long past 1888. Long past.) but, while there is no hint of a new hitherto-unknown case in the offing, that door isn’t particularly closed, either. The book begins with a bored Sherlock Holmes, but ends with a bored Watson? Well, in Baker Street, there’s only one sure cure for boredom….

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I'm fussy about these "tribute" novels so I only gave it three stars but it's pretty good for a tribute novel. I read it quickly and it kept me interested until the end. It was a little stiff and there were moments where even I, not an expert in the period, could tell she'd made an error or an anachronism. But it was good and there were moments where she loosened up a bit and made the story a little more "hers", and a little more inherently interesting, and those were great. She should do more o I'm fussy about these "tribute" novels so I only gave it three stars but it's pretty good for a tribute novel. I read it quickly and it kept me interested until the end. It was a little stiff and there were moments where even I, not an expert in the period, could tell she'd made an error or an anachronism. But it was good and there were moments where she loosened up a bit and made the story a little more "hers", and a little more inherently interesting, and those were great. She should do more of that. She says in her acknowledgment that she wrote with the voices of the great tv and movie sherlocks in her head, and when she allows herself to use those voices more fully and be a little funnier and a little more modern, then this is a really fun read.

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