The Sign of Fear

Written by Robert Ryan

Review written by John Parker

John Parker is a Graduate-qualified English/Spanish Teacher, owner and director of CHAT ENGLISH, an English Language Centre in Avilés on the north coast of Spain . A voracious reader, he has particularly loved horror fiction for many years.


The Sign of Fear
Simon & Schuster UK
RRP: £7.99
Released: December 1st 2016
PBK

In this, the fourth Dr. John Watson novel, we find ourselves in the autumn of 1917, in the latter stages of WW1.

An old friend of Watson; Staff Nurse Jennings who is serving in France has gone missing, most likely aboard a boat-ambulance torpedoed in the English Channel. Meanwhile back in London, a friend and concert-going companion, Sir Gilbert Hardy has been kidnapped (along with four others), ostensibly by a group of protestors angered by the government’s poor treatment of soldiers badly-injured or mentally affected by  the horrors of the war.

When a grisly ransom demand arrives, threatening terrible mutilation for the five kidnap victims, Watson, with the help of a policeman, his old friend Holmes and a totally unexpected (and unwanted) ally, finds himself in a race against time to rescue his old friend in London and to find out just what happened to Nurse Jennings and the hospital-boat, the Dover Arrow.

I have to say that this is an immensely enjoyable novel. Our hero Watson is a fine hero, intelligent, compassionate and determined to uncover the truth of what really happened to the Dover Arrow as well as saving the kidnap victims back in London. His old companion, Sherlock, is present but plays a lesser role.  Ryan doesn’t exactly take sides as we see some British and German characters from sympathetic points of view.

Well-plotted and intriguing, this is a book which you will keep you guessing as to its dénouement until the very end.



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