The Lazarus Testament by Martin Davies

In this intricately woven mystery, Martin Davies has captured the late Victorian to early Edwardian era atmosphere as well as the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle remarkably well. Although written by Davies the story is told by Holmes’ housekeeper’s young apprentice, Flotsam.

The first event of significance involves our intrepid narrator who witnesses an agitated man attempting, unsuccessfully, to cross the very busy Baker Street seemingly to get to 221B. He is struck by “the thundering bulk of a carriage horse”. Flotsam rushes to his aid but can only offer comfort as she cradles him in her lap where he laments not having declared his love for Elsie. Moments later, with his dying breath he gives her a chilling yet cryptic message for the great detective, “I have seen a dead man risen from the grave.”

The man is found to be in possession of two watches but why would be he need two time pieces and who is his secret love, Elsie?

The reader will be charmed by the down-to-earth wisdom of Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock Holmes’ housekeeper, aided by Flotsam, her young protégé, our narrator. Holmes has his Baker Street Irregulars so too Mrs. Hudson has her connections below stairs and some above.

The British government is once again in need of the distinguished Sherlock Holmes’ services in the baffling case of “The Lazarus Testament”. It must be found before being improperly released upon the public, potentially causing uncontrolled pandemonium.

The only person to possess knowledge of its whereabouts dies, but not before passing on its location to his heir, the Viscount Beaumaris, who immediately encodes the details on a slip of paper and then promptly disappears himself. A body turns up alleged to be his, but is it?

There are skilfully crafted twists, turns and conundrums aplenty. Enough to keep even the most ardent sleuth happily occupied. I highly recommend “Mrs. Hudson and the Lazarus Testament” to fans of the world’s first consulting detective and those requiring the stimulation of the little gray cells.