Saturday, April 23, 2022

Book Review: Mrs. Hudson and the Spirits' Curse by Martin Davies

Mrs. Hudson and the Spirits' Curse

Author:
Martin Davies
Series: A Holmes & Hudson Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Canelo; Digital original edition (July 13, 2015)

Description: What if Baker Street’s most gifted resident wasn’t called Sherlock Holmes?

An evil stalks London, blown in from the tropics. Stories of cursed giant rats and malign spirits haunt the garrets of Limehouse. A group of merchants are, one by one, dying. The elementary choice to investigate these mysterious deaths is, of course, Holmes and Dr Watson.

Yet the unique gifts of their housekeeper, Mrs Hudson, and her orphaned assistant Flotsam, will be needed to solve the case. Can she do it all under the nose of Sherlock himself?

From the coal fire at Baker Street to the smog of Whitechapel and the jungles of Sumatra, from snake bites in grand hotels to midnight carriage chases at the docks, it’s time for Mrs Hudson to step out of the shadows. Playfully breaking with convention, Martin Davies brings a fresh twist to classic Victorian mystery.

My Thoughts: This version of the Sherlock Holmes stories casts housekeeper Mrs. Hudson in a much more prominent role than stories in the canon. It is told by Flotsam, a poor young orphan girl, who is brought in as Mrs. Hudson's apprentice both in housekeeping and detective work.

The case begins when a man comes to Baker Street to try to hire Holmes. He tells a complex tale including a curse laid on him in Sumatra which has followed him home. He is in great fear and begs Holmes' help. 

Mrs. Hudson has some doubts about the man's story and begins her own investigation among her wide variety of acquaintances in London who range from a solicitor to a boy sells vegetables in the market. While Holmes is using his brain and deductive skills, Mrs. Hudson is finding out what is really going on (and giving Holmes hints to guide him to a proper solution.)

Throughout the story are hints that Mrs. Hudson has had a long career solving problems and collecting a lot of favors. She even has a long history with a man named Fogarty who is the reason Flotsam found herself on the street, fleeing villains, before she met Mrs. Hudson. Fogarty has quite a role in this mystery which moves it from curses in Sumatra to murders in London.

I really liked the setting and the historical detail. I enjoyed this new take which gives Mrs. Hudson an enhanced role and an apprentice. It was a fun story.

Favorite Quote:
"You're right, Flottie, it is wrong. But there's all sorts of wrongs in this world and, for all our efforts, you and I won't be able to root up all of it."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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