By Margaret Walsh
Publisher/Year: MX Publishing/2022
“I am Neb-Heka-Ra… I declaim now that my curse shall fall upon he who disturbs my rest. I call upon the Gods to witness and avenge such impiety…”
A trio of bizarre deaths, starting with that of a renowned surgeon, sends Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson, and Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard deep into a maelstrom of murder and mayhem. Does a mysterious piece of paper that leads them to the British Museum hold the key to these killings? And what are they truly dealing with? As the death toll climbs, Holmes, Watson, and Lestrade race to solve the dreadful mystery of the Curse of Neb-Heka-Ra.
Reviewer: Sally Bothroyd
Sherlock Holmes first appeared in print in 1887 and has since gone on to become one of the world’s most iconic fictional characters; with the Guinness World Records listing him as the most portrayed human literary character in film and television history.
In this fan novella by author Margaret Walsh, Sherlock Holmes and his associate Dr John Watson are in their usual digs in Baker Street, London, at a similar era to the original tales by Arthur Conan Doyle. The story is told by Dr Watson (again, as in the original tales), and begins as the pair are brought on as police consultants following the mysterious death of a local surgeon. More strange murders follow in quick succession, and a connection is made between the deaths and a recent high-society party featuring the unveiling of an Egyptian mummy. Can Holmes discover the killer before the death count climbs even further? Or are the deaths indeed due to a mummy’s curse?
Margaret Walsh is self-described ‘devotee of Sherlock Holmes for over forty years’ and has written several tribute novels. She is also evidently a fan of British history and has done her research on this period of London, when Egyptian artefacts were being uncovered (and looted) by British archeological expeditions. I enjoyed learning more about this time, and about the places visited by Holmes and Watson as they seek to find the killer, including a strange private zoo and the British Museum.
Although I’m not a Sherlock devotee (having only ever read one of the Conan Doyle novels), it seems to me that Walsh is committed to writing in a similar style to Conan Doyle, with the aim of adding more adventures to the canon, rather than re-inventing the characters (some Holmes fan fiction involves time travel, vampires – anything you can imagine, really).
As to why Sherlock Holmes (and Dr Watson by association) have become such towering cultural icons, there are as many theories as there are adaptations. But I think it’s because readers (and writers) can’t go past a good detective story. And if you enjoy a good detective story, then you’ll enjoy Sherlock Holmes and the Curse of Neb-Heka-Ra.