Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Book & Audio Review: A Scandal in Battersea by Mercedes Lackey

A Scandal in Battersea

Mercedes Lackey
Narrator: Gemma Dawson
Series: Elemental Masters (Book 12)
Publication: Audible Studios (October 17, 2017); DAW (October 17, 2017)
Length: 11 hours and 40 minutes; 316 p.

Description: The twelfth novel in Mercedes Lackey's magical Elemental Masters series reimagines Sherlock Holmes in a richly-detailed alternate 20th-century England

Christmas is a very special time of year. It is special for Psychic Nan Killian and Medium Sarah Lyon-White and their ward Suki, who are determined to celebrate it properly. It is special for their friends, Doctor John Watson, and his wife Mary, both Elemental Masters, who have found great delight in the season seeing it through young Suki’s eyes.

It is also special to others...for very different reasons.

For Christmas Eve is also hallowed to dark forces, powers older than mankind, powers that come awake on this long, cold night. Powers best left alone. Powers that could shake the foundations of London and beyond.

It begins slowly.  Women disappearing in the dark of night, women only missed by those of their own kind. The whispers only begin when they start to reappear—because when they do, they are no longer sane. And when Nan and Sarah and the Watsons are called on to examine these victims, they discover that it was no ordinary horror of the streets that drove them mad.

But then, the shadows reach for other victims—girls of good, even exalted families, who vanish from concerts, lectures, and evening balls. And it will take the combined forces of Magic, Psychic Powers, and the world's greatest detective to stop the darkness before it can conquer all.

My Thoughts: The twelfth Elemental Masters books stars returning characters Nan Killian, Sarah Lyon-White, Sherlock Holmes, and Dr. John and Mary Watson. It is Christmas time and all are determined to make the occasion special for Nan and Sarah's ward Suki. But while they are attending the Panto and window shopping, Alexandre Harcourt is planning on calling on a dark power to get himself power.

Alexandre Harcourt hates the Christmas season but this year a new occult book he finds at his favorite bookstore gives him an idea for a way to increase his power and wealth. He is a resentful man who hates that his father left him under the supervision of his lawyers. He learns about an entity who will grant his wishes if he just follows the entity's instructions. The entity instructs him to find victims for him and sends Harcourt and his loyal man Alf out to find pure young people to feed to him. 

People go missing in London every day, but when a young woman from the prosperous middle class goes missing and is found wandering mindlessly, Sherlock Holmes is called in. Sherlock asks Nan to look at the young woman. Nan discovers that the girl is little more than an automaton. Her soul is missing!

When other girls go missing and are found in the same condition, and when a young women the Watsons, Nan and Sarah have rescued from an institution for the insane because of her visions sees a London in ruins, forces are gathered to try to find out what is happening and how the forces for good can stop it.

The story is richly detailed and filled with amazing images. It drifted a little bit more to horror than I am usually comfortable with, but the compelling storytelling kept me reading and listening. Gemma Dawson did a great job with the variety of accents and characters and also did an excellent job with the story's pacing. 

Favorite Quote:
"We can only do what's in our strenth, don't ye see? We just have to make sure we do what's in our stenth."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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