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Review of The Celtic Phoenix: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure

22 Mar

It’s 1919 and Sherlock Holmes has retired to a South Coast cottage where he is using his past cases to compile a definitive work on crime and criminals. This is interrupted by the arrival in the post of a decorated jewellery case/casket inside which are a pair of testes. Is this a warning or perhaps a challenge, maybe from a murderer?

Back in London, at Scotland Yard, there is an investigation following a murder that has links to Holmes’ unusual package. An acquaintance of Dr Watson’s has been killed, his suspected murdered a young woman with a sad past. It’s claimed that the young worker, under the care of the Salvation Army, killed her master. The victim, like Holmes, had received something in the post that disturbed him.

The symbols on the casket (of testes) are Celtic in origin. The Celtics lived thousands of years ago, with a sacred and respectful view of nature, and equality between the sexes. Women, the birth-givers/creators of life, often took on leading and important roles, such as priests and warriors. Given the contents of the casket sent to Holmes, was this sent by a woman with a Celtic link?

One legendary cult of women warriors, the Sisters of Scathach, are making a return, and it could be timely. With slavery, sexual abuse, violence and discrimination rife, there’s plenty for such a group to fight against. But is this a welcome social justice campaign or criminal plan for revenge for modern crimes against women?

A former Baker Street irregular, Tessa Wiggins, teams up with Holmes – and to some extent Inspector Walls – as they attempt to prevent more killings and restore order, whilst serving justice. There are several strong female characters in a book which explores feminist issues that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago.  

There are hidden items, secret codes and historic lore, making for an interesting adventure. A well told story from a writer comfortable with the Holmes canon.

Reviewed by Crime Thriller Hound

The Celtic Phoenix: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure is available from all good bookstores including The Strand MagazineAmazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. In ebook format it is in Kindle. Available on Audio.

9781787053816

 

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