Sherlock Holmes & The Crosby Murder by: Barrie Roberts

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In the sixth of Barrie Roberts’s highly accomplished pastiches of the masterly Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes is facing only dull professional prospects in London when Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard arrives at 221b Baker Street with a most peculiar parcel. After a swift but adept examination of the contents inside an ordinary shoe box tied with tarred twine, Holmes announces that the small, leathery-looking object before him is nothing less than the shrunken head of Algernon Crosby, a banker who had gone missing in London six weeks earlier. The rest of Crosby’s body, scarred and disfigured, has meanwhile been fished from the Thames. The mystery surrounding Crosby’s bizarre and gruesome murder is compounded by other significant missing pieces. Crosby’s yacht, the Gyrfalcon, which recently took him and his small crew on a trip to America and the West Indies, has vanished, and with it a burly deckhand known as Teddy the American. The discovery of a curious word chart in Teddy’s lodgings puts Holmes and Watson on the trail of a solution. Together they unravel a dangerous plot of curses and a revenge that reaches across the world to a mountain wilderness in America’s West. But before Holmes is able to close an investigation that will end in a violent confrontation with the killer in a warehouse on the London docks, Watson will find himself in deadly peril when he is trapped in a heathland pit with three hissing, poisonous lizards.

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