Book Review: A Betrayal in Blood, by Mark A. Latham #SherlockHolmes

Publisher:  Titan Books

Publication date:  28th March 2017

Our infatuation for a damned fine mystery often stirs a morbid curiosity of the unknown and encourages many of us to channel our inner detective. We may not rival the greats, particularly when the competition is none other than Sherlock Holmes, but A Betrayal in Blood reinvents a cryptic nemesis to indulge our every whim.

In this embittered tale a familiar legend places innocent lives in jeopardy. Set amid Victorian society, an asylum, and the grandeur of a Transylvanian castle, Doctor Watson narrates the case of the ‘Dracula papers’ as the determined duo investigate the impact of vampirism, allegedly practised by a deceased reclusive nobleman.

How I love it when sinister plots are afoot aiming to foil our intrepid private detectives, especially when those responsible are not to be meddled with. Professor Abraham Van Helsing is one such character. Exuding confidence in both his intelligence and influence, The Dutchman defends his posse’s intervention to stop Dracula (literally dead in his tracks) after an unfortunate young woman could not escape the Count’s wicked motives. He may have led the hunt for the monster responsible but was subsequently accused of murder.

Certain irregularities regarding the murders will rise, along with reports of the undead, causing Sherlock to continue where Scotland Yard’s official involvement ceased as the whole affair remains fantastical. In an unusual spin, a new case is born combining the tale of Count Dracula and the authenticity of classic Sherlock Holmes. Harnessing the keen perception of the great man himself complete with his faithful colleague at his side, they nip at the heels of shifty witnesses until the facts are unveiled and the wicked are held accountable.

I could tell from the spring in his step and that familiar gleam in his eye that he had the scent of villainy, and would stop at nothing until the wrongdoer was brought to justice.

Unreliable evidence and inconsistent testimony construct a riddle that features timeless fictional celebrities fuelled by fear and a quest for the truth. A worthy and thoroughly obliging addition to the Sherlock archives. 

[On a totally random note, by reading this I’ve learned the name ‘Wendy’ (a fleeting character appearance, and of course my own) appeared before JM Barrie’s Peter Pan was published. I didn’t know that, and I only mention it as I’d never heard the name being used in a story around this period before. End of randomness.]

 Rating:  4/5

(I received a copy of this title from the publisher and it is my pleasure to provide an unbiased review.)

(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

It is 1894, and the news of a Transylvanian nobleman s death at the hands of a certain Professor Van Helsing is the talk of London. Unsatisfied at the acquittal of the professor, Mycroft Holmes asks Sherlock to investigate what truly led to the deaths of Lucy Westenra and the mysterious aristocrat. The newspapers are full of inconsistencies and wild supernatural theories, and as Holmes digs deeper, he suspects that those hailed as heroes are not what they seem.

The clues point to an innocent man framed and murdered for crimes he did not commit, and Holmes and Watson find themselves targeted at every turn, as what began as a quest to clear one man s name reveals a conspiracy that draws them to the mountains of Transylvania and the infamous Castle Dracula.


(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Mark Latham is an author, editor and games designer with a passion for nineteenth century history, from Staffordshire, UK. Formerly the editor of Games Workshop’s White Dwarf magazine and head of Warhammer 40,000, Latham is now a writer of novels, short stories, and tabletop games, such as Legends of the Old West, and Waterloo. Latham is published in Further Encounters of Sherlock Holmes.