Rendezvous at the Populaire by Kate Workman puts us into familiar territory; the world of the Phantom of the Opera. This has been a happy hunting ground for pastiche writers, Sam Siciliano springs to mind. What we have here is a stripped down version, the tale being told in a straightforward and exciting manner. Holmes and Watson are perfectly drawn and it's refreshing to see Watson fully involved; I felt the 'Phantom' novels of Siciliano and Nicholas Meyer both suffered by Watson's absence from the main events. The Holmes of this tale is a vulnerable man, injured and doubting himself, but of course rises to the occasion, particularly in the fight scene with Erik. For fans of the Canon this is more satisfying than previous pastiches on this theme, its heart is in the right place and it is an undeniably exciting read.
If you like your Holmes to be 'different' and pastiches tinged with the supernatural than Tracy Revel's tow Holmes novels, Shadowfall and Shadowblood will satisfy on both accounts. Shadowfall begins by surprising Watson and therefore the reader by his walking in on a conversation between Titania, Queen of the fairies and Holmes. Once Watson accepts the premise..we are off on an enthralling adventure. I, for one was so bowled over by the story that I was not any time disquieted by a Holmes who was 'not of this world'. This is a tribute to Ms. Revel's skill in combing elements of the Canon with the other wordly elements of the shadowy world and characters that we meet along the way. Along the way Watson loses his soul, but not his courage or compassion. The action never flags and I was all too sad to get to the end of this hugely entertaining novel.
Tracy Revel's second Holmes novel, 'Shadowblood' brings us back once more to the world of shadows and halflings, magic and evil. Shadowfall was a great read, but this is even better. If anything, the characterisations of Holmes and Watson gel even better than before, the interacting between the pair is unforced and perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the Canon. the action ranges from London, through to Prague to Florida on the trail of Alice Telfair, a witch with no compassion for anybody or anything, and the Fountain of Youth. The gallery of characters we encounter is truly extraordinary with Lizzie Borden and HP Lovecraft thrown in for good measure. Enormously exciting, well plotted and the very essence of a page turner. And......the last lines are very, very moving. Loved it!
The above books available widely on all major book-selling websites or direct from the publisher: