The box proved to have a false bottom, under which lay the manuscript of a full-length adventure of Sherlock Holmes, in which the great detective needs all his cunning and detective powers to unravel the mysteries at Hareby Hall.
Mentioned in passing by Dr. Watson in his account of A Scandal in Bohemia, The Darlington Substitution is a tale of deceit, treachery, and murder most foul, set in the wild Border country of northern England. Holmes and Watson encounter a centuries-old legend which tells of the future extinction of an ancient noble family, and set themselves against one of the most ingenious and fiendish villains ever to cross the path of Sherlock Holmes.
Holmes and his faithful biographer come to life again in this case, following in the tradition already set in the three volumes of the "Deed Box" series of shorter Holmes adventures published by Inknbeans Press. These have been extremely favorably received by readers and reviewers, with one commenting, "I would have assumed that they were indeed previously undiscovered Doyle originals," and another, "The author has followed the approaches of the original Doyle stories to the extent that these could have been easily included in the original works".
To celebrate the discovery of The Darlington Substitution, Inknbeans Press and Hugh Ashton have produced a paperback edition that closely mimics the original Sherlock Holmes stories in its typography and orthography - "printed steampunk" - which should delight fans of the original Holmes stories as they peruse this latest addition to the adventures of the most famous sleuth ever to grace the pages of fiction.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Darlington Substitution Scandal by Hugh Ashton This tale is mentioned in passing by Watson in SCAN. The Earl of Darlington, Alfred, summons Holmes and Watson to his Club, The Athenaeum. There he has a tale of an ancestor, one Edward, who imprisoned an old woman suspected to be a witch for eleven months and made fun of her. Finally one night he challenges here to prove her magic. She produces a twisted tree root with eleven silver pennies in it. She states that with the birth of Edward’s first born son, a ritual must begin. Within seven days of the birth and without christening the child, a penny must be removed from the mace and cast into the well in the courtyard. Failure to do so will result in the child’s death. The Mace of Succession will pass down though eleven generations. When the last penny is gone, Mad Maggie declares the line of Darlington will come to an end. A dark cloud of superstition and fear hangs over the estate, the Hall at Hareby, in Northumberland. Twice in eleven generations, a father has ignored the mace and his first born died in a fall which crushed the skull. Lord Darlington’s son’s wife is now pregnant, and if she bares a son, he would be the eleventh Earl of Darlington. One penny remains in the mace. And the mace has disappeared… This is a story of murder and greed. It winds through the corridors of Hareby Hall. Lady Hareby has a son, who will be the next Lord Darlington. Yet the crying of a child is heard in the house, and it doesn’t come from the infant Lord Hareby. There are the unseemly actions of Lady Hareby which are an affront and embarrassment to Watson. She is brazen about her actions and seems to be trying to discover a lot about just what Holmes knows. There is the suspicious death of Lord Hareby, the son of Lord Darlington. He had been thrown from a horse during a hunt and was injured in the brain. By all reports he has become superstitious and often despondent. The question becomes suicide or murder? I will only taunt you here and say that an old foe of Sherlock Holmes involves himself in this adventure. The twists carry on until the end, with the ending adding in one more action that I was not expecting. However; there are places where I think the action drags just a bit. I give this exciting novel four stars. Quoth the Raven…