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Fiction comes to life in The Baker Street Phantom
October 27, 2015
The Baker Street Phantom
By Farbrice Bourland
Pub Date: August 2, 2010
In the spring of 1932, with Londoners terrorised by a series of brutal murders, the private detective agency of Messrs. Singleton and Trelawney quietly opens its doors in Bloomsbury. The first person to call on their services is a worried Lady Arthur Conan Doyle. She tells of mysterious events at 221 Baker Street - and a premonition that the London murders signal terrible danger for mankind. Their investigation will take our intrepid heroes into a world of séances and spirits. Aided by the most famous detective of all time, they must draw on their knowledge of the imaginary to find the perpetrators of some very real and bloody crimes before they strike again...
Just last week, I reviewed Art in the Blood, a novel featuring the iconic characters of Holmes and Watson. Fabrice Bourland's novel, The Baker Street Phantom is a different kind of tribute, unique and enticing.
It is known that in later years, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was fascinated by spiritualism, and was an active part of the movement. This plays a central role in Bourland's novel, and was the inspiration behind the story. A central tenet of spiritualism is the continuation of the soul after death, and its ability to interact psychically with the physical plane. What if, belief gives reality to a spirit? Undoubtedly Holmes and other unforgettable characters may have an existence on the psychic plane.
Lady Arthur Conan Doyle, the widow of the illustrious writer, approaches Messrs. Singleton and Trelawney, private detectives, to investigate a series of bizarre occurrences at 221 Baker Street. The owners of the building are hearing noises, furniture is being moved – but there is no evidence of who or what is causing the disturbance. At the same time, London is beset by a number of murders mimicking those committed by fiends of Victorian literature. Singleton and Trelawney are drawn into a world of spirits and séances – where the impossible may not be so impossible after all.
The Baker Street Phantom is a wonderful novel, and the translation from French to English is superb. I liked how Bourland integrated spiritualism in the mystery and made it possible for two living detectives to receive the assistance of the world's greatest fictional detective. While not everyone will enjoy the paranormal element, I found it a unique addition. There are many new adventures being written for the characters of Holmes and Watson, but in few of these are they portrayed as fictional characters.
Bourland reminds us how stories, fictional creations impact our lives and beliefs.
I highly recommend The Baker Street Phantom to anyone who loves Sherlock Holmes or paranormal mysteries.
I received a copy of The Baker Street Phantom from netgalley.com and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.