Holmes is talking to Watson about his latest chemistry experiment – heavy water when Mrs Hudson announces that there’s a man who wishes to see Holmes. The man – Charles Keshton is a well-to-do barrister. He doubts Holmes’ art of deduction and calls it – either remarkable skills for observation and reasoning or remarkable skills for fabrication.
Charles Keshton’s wife Barbara has recently been acting strangely. She fired all the servants and then locked herself in the room. And since this episode of madness, she lies in her bed, refusing to talk to anyone.
Holmes and Watson go to Maidenhead – Keshton’s house and talk to Emily, Barbara’s maid. Emily says that her mistress was normal, read her mails and asked for a hand mirror. And then, all this madness began.
Holmes asks Watson to return to 221B, Baker’s Street as his services are not required. A dejected Watson returns to 221B. Over the next couple of days, Watson sees very less of Holmes. Finally, when Holmes is home, he receives a telegram from Keshton, asking them to return to Maidenhead immediately as Barbara’s friend – Sarah Marlowe has committed suicide.
Holmes thinks that the two cases are related. His investigations take him to the Wood Pusher’s Club. Something sinister’s happening in this amateur’s chess club. Sherlock decides to solve the mystery.
Adventure of the Black Bishop was a short read. I loved the way the story developed. The only part I did not like was when Watson’s asked to go home. Poor thing hardly plays any role in the investigation!
The ending is interesting and unique. The reason for Sarah’s suicide and Barbara’s madness is something sinister than just blackmail. And Woodhouse Club? Who would have thought about all the activities going on in a so-called chess club!
Of all the Sherlock Holmes pastiche that I have read so far, I must say that this one was unique and unbelievable. Since it is a short read, I recommend it to all those who love to read a Holmes pastiche. And oh yes, this book also has some illustrations, and they are not to be missed.
My Rating: 4/5
Title: Sherlock Holmes and the Adventures of the Black Bishop
Author: Mark Coggins
Published on: 21st October 2008
Featured Image Credits: Goodreads.com