The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Crusader’s Curse (2020) by Stuart Douglas is the thirty-second entry in the Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series published by Titan Books. In The Crusader’s Curse, Holmes and Watson are suffering through a slow-crime period in London and are happy to be hired to spend a few days in the country at a centuries-old manse that is up for auction after the recent death of the owner. There is a mysteriously missing art collection; a lost, priceless ruby; and a deathly curse associated with the decidedly odd house and the dangerous caverns that wend their way beneath. The group staying at the manse are a cross section of the rich from Britain, America, and even Malaysia. Of course, it doesn’t take long for somebody to turn up dead, a cranky police inspector to arrive, and for Sherlock Holmes to start finding the thinnest of clues that lead to astonishing assertions. There are plenty of red herrings; jerks who are actually sweethearts and sweethearts who are actually jerks; and, of course, Sherlock Holmes is there to make every last one of them look like fools.
The language, diction, and plot points all feel very much like those first imagined by Arthur Conan Doyle. In fact, the average reader would probably have a tough time distinguishing the differences between Doyle and Douglas’ work. It is not a typical Holmes/Watson case, but it does remind one, at times, of The Hound of the Baskervilles. In the last couple of chapters there are a few revelations that strain credibility, and I would be quite impressed if very many readers could name the murderer before that fact is revealed, but The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Crusader’s Curse is fast-paced and fun and will be enjoyed by fans of Sherlock Holmes and mystery lovers in general.