Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are holidaying on the English coast when they discover a corpse on the beach… which then disappears. They can get little help from the nearby village, populated by strange and unfriendly characters. Then the corpse suddenly reappears in their cottage and they are attacked by persons unknown. Watson comes to, and discovers that months have passed, and Holmes is not the man he remembers. What has happened to his friend? Does it have something to do with a dead devil worshipper, whose children happen to live in the cursed village?
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I imagine I should give a ***SPOLIERS*** warning on this one, although I will not reveal the ending and will try to miss giving away too many key points. The idea of a review to attract readers, not to give away the surprise a book gives you. Holmes has fallen into a deep depression. Watson is trying everything to cheer him up. So when a new member of Watson’s club suggests a holiday at Samphire Collage at Howden on the Devon coast, Watson is able to convince Holmes to go. The story opens with a wandering Holmes finding a body on the beach not far from the cottage. But when Holmes runs back to get Watson; the body disappears. Later Watson discovers it buried on the beach, but when he brings back Holmes the body has disappeared again! Holmes and Watson are contacted by the local vicar, Reverend Simon Dickens. However; his explanation as to how he knew they were at the cottage won’t hold water. Holmes becomes suspicious of the man, but he has no proof of any wrong doing. Then Holmes and Watson make the acquaintance of a man at The Dark Man Tavern. He turns out to be the son of the infamous Bartholomew Blackwood, a devil worshiping degenerate who was known as The Devil’s Companion. Blackwood’s endgame was to perform a rite known as Corpus Dialabo—to make the Devil incarnate in a man… His son Enoch and his twin sister Arabela now live on the property left to them when Blackwood died. They have no choice, since the will states they cannot change their name and that one of them has to produce a child by the time the two are thirty. Besides the name of Blackwood is reviled in all of the kingdom and this out of the way farm gives them privacy. Then Watson wakes up in a hospital with no memory of what has happened. And worse, Holmes gives him no help, telling Watson it would be inconvenient for Watson to remember what has transpired… The tales moves a bit slowly, but I can guarantee that the ending will be totally unexpected—and also totally unexplained. Some have called it “boring.” I don’t think so as I read it in one setting. But it does drag in places. I give this book three stars. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t Davies at his best. Quoth the Raven…