German zeppelins rain down death and destruction on London, and Dr. Watson is grieving for his nephew, killed on the fields of France.
A cryptic summons from Mycroft Holmes reunites Watson with his one-time companion, as Sherlock comes out of retirement, tasked with solving three unexplained deaths. A politician has drowned in the Thames after giving a pro-German speech; a soldier suggests surrender before feeding himself to a tiger; and a suffragette renounces women’s liberation and throws herself under a train. Are these apparent suicides something more sinister, something to do with the mysterious Spirit Box? Their investigation leads them to Ravensthorpe House, and the curious Seaton Underwood, a man whose spectrographs are said to capture men’s souls…
A Newbury & Hobbes Universe Novel
The second of my Sherlock Holmes novels, The Spirit Box was my opportunity to bring Holmes out of retirement, to explore how things had changed between him and Watson, and to have a bit of fun with the idea of a bunch of older men saving the world (or Britain, at least), from a terrible plot.
Like The Will of the Dead, I wanted to bring in a number of elements from my wider fictional universe, too, but instead of Charles Bainbridge, this time I opted for a guest appearance from Sir Maurice Newbury himself, along with Professor Archibald Angelchrist, a retired secret serviceman who’d first featured in my Doctor Who novel, Paradox Lost, and had gone on to feature in a number of Newbury & Hobbes stories, including the novel, The Executioner’s Heart.
On a surface level at least, this one has a more supernatural flavour to it, although being a Sherlock Holmes novel, there’s plenty of rational explanations flying about. It’s up to you, the reader, to decide if Seaton Underwood’s ‘spectrographs’ have any real veracity to them…
“There can be few fictional characters so plagiarised as Sherlock Holmes. The results rarely live up to expectations…Mann is one of few to get close to the target.”