Title: The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Scroll of the Dead
Author: David Stuart Davies
Publisher: Titan Books
The Scroll of the Dead is a fast paced yarn that hits all the beats a Holmes and Watson story should. Some of the twists are a tad predictable, but don’t really detract from the story. The tale wastes little time getting started, assuming readers are already familiar with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson; their relationship, and the world they live in. It’s a fair assumption considering the amount of Holmes material in the marketplace – be it books, film, and television shows – and that number appears to be growing exponentially every day.
The story concerns the theft of a piece of ancient papyrus from the British Museum’s Egyptian collection. The papyrus was written by a high priest named Seraph, who was said to know the secret to eternal life. His coded text on the papyrus was a guide to the location of The Scroll of the Dead, which outlined his formula for achieving life beyond the normal plane of existence.
Naturally enough, evil doers who dabble in the black arts want the scroll and are prepared to kill to get it. The game is afoot, and treachery and deceit ensue.
While The Scroll of the Dead is a thoroughly entertaining read from go to whoa, if I have a problem with it, it’s that the coded secret of the papyrus is never revealed. Holmes cracks the code off screen, as it were, and the reader (and Watson for that matter – as he is the narrator) misses out on what could be argued is the most important piece of information in the case… Then again, somebody could suggest if I want that type of story, then maybe I should stick to Dan Brown!
None-the-less, The Scroll of the Dead is a fun adventure romp that can easily read in one or two sittings and should please most fans of Holmes and Watson.