Sherlock Holmes And The White Worm by Sam Siciliano (book review).

March 10, 2016 | By | Reply More

‘Sherlock Holmes And The White Worm’ is another example of the insatiable hunger for a story featuring our saturnine pal with a nice line in logic. This is a retelling of ‘The Legend Of The White Worm’, as told in the novel (apparently not very good) by Bram Stoker.


This one does not have a Watson, though he has his cousin, Dr. Henry Vernier, who plays the Watson at least. Vernier is married to a feisty doctor which probably helps even up the female to male ratio at least.

Holmes needs a break and what better than the Yorkshire coast, so bracing (that was Skegness actually). Harking back to the only decent novel by Stoker, the companions are in the vicinity of Whitby, although most of the action takes place in a rattling hour’s carriage drive away in Lesser Hill. Down the Yorkshire coast lies the home of their client and the mysterious Diana’s Grove, home of the legend of the white worm.

They are taken on by a rich young Adam Selton who is desperate to find out why he has been warned off by an anonymous letter from romancing a young lady called Diana Marsh. She’s the heir not only to an estate but it seems the local legend of the white worm is also part of her legacy. Her clinging aunt, whose own husband committed suicide in mysterious way, seems determined to put her own stamp on Diana’s home with a collection of reptiles of which she seems inordinately fond.

Meanwhile, Sherlock and Vernier get to meet the locals and a motley collection they turn out to be and there is a definite hint of ‘The Wicker Man’ of this tale. Their investigations into the local folklore start to show that that white worm might not be a myth after all.

I found I enjoyed this novel more than I thought I would. I love the introduction which explains the misogynistic, racist novel that is Stoker’s ‘The Lair Of The White Worm’ and, of course, the new novel is an updated sensible approach to the role of women and men in the world and as Freud said sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Sue Davies

March 2016

(pub: Titan Books. 336 page small enlarged paperback. Price; £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78329-555-5)

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Category: Books, Horror

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