Unquiet Spirits by Bonnie MacBird Unquiet Spirits: Whisky, Ghosts, Murder by Bonnie MacBird
Narrator: Simon Darwen
Series: Sherlock Holmes Adventures #2
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. on July 27, 2017
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery
Length: 10 hrs 59 mins
Format: Audiobook
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three-half-stars

December 1889. Fresh from debunking a 'ghostly' hound in Dartmoor, Sherlock Holmes has returned to London, only to find himself the target of a deadly vendetta.

A beautiful client arrives with a tale of ghosts, kidnapping and dynamite on a whisky estate in Scotland, but brother Mycroft trumps all with an urgent assignment in the South of France.

On the fabled Riviera, Holmes and Watson encounter treachery, explosions, rival French detective Jean Vidocq...and a terrible discovery. This propels the duo northward to the snowy highlands. There, in a 'haunted' castle and among the copper dinosaurs of a great whisky distillery, they and their young client face mortal danger, and Holmes realizes all three cases have blended into a single deadly conundrum.

In order to solve the mystery, the ultimate rational thinker must confront a ghost from his own past. But Sherlock Holmes does not believe in ghosts...or does he?

I usually don’t read two from the same series back to back, but I didn’t feel like trying to decide which audiobook to listen to next, so just went with #2 in MacBird’s Sherlock Holmes Adventures. It was an enjoyable follow-up to Art in the Blood.

Unquiet Spirits is a fast-paced, multi-layered mystery. Of course, all three pieces of the plot are connected. They almost always are in mysteries. I loved the atmosphere of the haunted Scottish castle and liked learning the details of the whiskey industry at the time. Holmes investigation brings him to the home of the McLarens in Scotland. The McLarens are not a nice family, though they make excellent whiskey. They don’t like each other, not even the married couples. They are spiteful and put ambition over just about anything else. They want Holmes to investigate a situation for them, but don’t want him to expose any of their other secrets. Holmes of course has no qualms about prying into every dark corner.

The bit that didn’t work as well for me was the background into Holmes’ childhood and the ghosts of his past coming back to haunt him. It was convincing and fit well with the story, I just don’t need Holmes to have a backstory. I’m content with what little Conan Doyle gave us. Others may appreciate it more than I did. I also don’t understand why new Holmes stories have to give us so much of Mycroft. He was in four of the original stories, but you would think, from how often he shows up in pastiches, that he was a main character. In both of her novels I’ve read, Sherlock is sent out on a mission by none other than Mycroft. Boo.

The solution was melodramatic in a good way. MacBird is wonderful at giving us detailed scenes that we can picture. While Unquiet Spirits is not perfect, it is definitely entertaining.

About Bonnie MacBird

Bonnie MacBird has been a screenwriter (TRON), studio executive (Universal) producer (three Emmys), a playwright and a classically trained actor. She teaches writing at UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program and is a regular speaker on writing, creativity, and Sherlock Holmes.

She has three Sherlock Holmes novels, out now: ART IN THE BLOOD (2015), UNQUIET SPIRITS (2017) and THE DEVIL’S DUE (2019). A fourth is in work. All are for HarperCollins.

MacBird lives in Los Angeles and London.

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