An ensemble cast including Nan and Sarah, their birds, assorted elementals, Sherlock Holmes, John and Mary Watson plus others from earlier books in the series do battle with, well, 'Cthulu lite' in an alternate-earth in Victorian London.
There are few iconic fictional characters with a more passionate following than Sherlock Holmes. There are numerous serious groups who study the Holmes canon and meet to have dinner and debate the finer points of Conan Doyle's extant oeuvre. For those folks, this book and the one previous (A Study in Sable, #11), would certainly bring on apoplexy.
While I love traditional Holmes and have read them many many times, that hasn't stopped me from enjoying the rich abundance of Holmes pastiches and modern narratives. For those people who are a little stricter in their acceptance of ersatz Holmes, it can be said in defense of this installment that Holmes himself isn't really a central character, more of recurring cameo. I didn't find his presence distracting at all. I don't know that I would have rated him a cover appearance (though the cover art is beautiful), he doesn't appear all that much in the book.
My main problem with the book was that I found myself repeatedly jerked out of the story by the really over the top 'dialect' dialogue. Much of the time I found myself almost having to translate phonetically to see what they were trying to say. That was my biggest grumble with the book and it certainly wasn't insurmountable, just annoying.
This is a Mercedes Lackey book, the good characters are good, the villains are villainous and there isn't
I found it comfortably readable, entertaining and distracting. I loved the scene with the panto, and I love little Suki.
Four stars, it was exactly as expected, thank goodness.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.