I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and have read not just every one of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, but many of the more modern stories written by other authors but featuring the same iconic detective and his colorful retinue and the rich Victorian setting of late 1800’s London. What’s not to like about the original hyper-observant consulting detective and the hints of the occult that appear time and again in the stories?
Writer Sylvain Cordurié has woven the occult much more tightly into the Holmsian world in the entertaining Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London, offering a story that could almost be a Cthulhu mythology overlap, where there are good and bad vampires in London and Holmes is called in by the Crown to figure out what’s going on.
But, of course, there’s more going on than is obvious, and as Holmes continues to investigate, he leverages his supposed death at Reichenbach Falls (a story element from Doyle himself, when he had tired of his fictional character and killed him off in “The Final Problem” just to have him reappear three years later in “The Adventure of the Empty House”) to travel the world and understand the basis of the vampire attacks throughout London and Britain.
Cordurié does a splendid job of capturing the feel of a Holmes story, including using the device of Holmes telling the story in past tense in the form of a letter to his absent friend Dr. John Watson: “Watson, you have written about all my adventures, now I must write about this one with the certainty that, alas, I may not finish it…”
The artwork by Laci is also terrific, with some notable panels including an aerial view of Paris early in the story. But I’m so used to TV and movie representations of Holmes as a perpetually serious man that his smiling visage on the last page of the book threw me for a bit of a loop. Holmes can smile?
Still, smile aside, Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London is a great read, engrossing and with enough twists in its somewhat dark, occult story that it’s a solid addition to any fan.
Sherlock Holmes and the Vampires of London, story by Sylvain Cordurié, art by Laci and colors by Axel Gonzalbo. Published by Dark Horse, Feb, 2014.