Art in the Blood Reviews

More About Art in the Blood: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure

“Art in the Blood is very much a genre novel, in the best sense of that term: an easy and enjoyable read, a page-turner… and much like watching a Bond movie, one can check off those requirements of a classic Holmes caper that MacBird manages to juggle and service with panache… It’s all there, along with a plot constructed to maximize not the solution but the red herrings provided. The revelations at novel’s end, in all their horror, are shocking…

MacBird has done her homework and her ability to deliver a few hours of pleasurable reading in the company of Holmes and Watson is not to be underestimated.”



“MacBird skillfully interweaves fact with fiction while remaining faithful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original imagining of Sherlock Holmes, especially regarding his idiosyncrasies with both drug addiction and the recklessness he exhibits toward his own life… A worthy addition to the adventures of Sherlock Holmes.”



“Impressive first novel and series launch…MacBird, who has had a long and successful career in Hollywood, certainly knows her Doyle…(an) exciting, cinematic climax.”

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY “STAFF PICK” by Peter Cannon, Senior Editor


“For me this is the best pastiche since The Seven Per-Cent Solution and that is bar none.”



“Ms MacBird has faithfully reproduced the atmosphere, mystery and excitement first created by Conan Doyle in his original Sherlock Holmes adventures. But at the same time she gently and inconspicuously develops aspects of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson that were only hinted at by the creator of the Holmes stories…. Are you dubious about reading Holmes stories that were not written by Conan Doyle? I admit that I was but I thoroughly enjoyed this fabulous book. The author has also introduced a gentle humour into the story along with beautifully crafted characters. Holmes aficionados will find everything that they love about the Conan Doyle stories – and more besides.”



“The labyrinthine plotting is logical and exciting with plenty of clues to follow as MacBird brings about the inexorable conclusion. What is intriguing is that this is an early Holmes. He is thirty-five, almost at the start of his career, and not quite perfect. He is complex, observant, and still plagued by his personal demons. Despite his chilly exterior, Holmes’ deep-seated emotions occasionally come to the surface, especially while dealing with the case of the missing child. Watson, while maintaining his secondary position in the dyad, nevertheless is more assertive and perceptive than he is narrating the original tales… As the novel races towards its inevitable conclusion, you will wish it was longer, and you will be hopeful for a sequel soon. Art in the Blood is an excellent adventure for both Holmes fans and anyone who enjoys a rousing, good story.”



“The author’s screenwriting background is obvious on reading this, her first novel. It’s cinematic in scope and you could easily imagine it on the big screen. It’s also a well-written and genuinely page-turning tale, which is not afraid to show Holmes at his worst, while never leaving us in any doubt of how good he is when at his best. Although Sherlock fans will lap it up, that’s not to say it’s not accessible to everyone else. Perfect escapist reading.”



“Paris in La Belle Epoque, the snowy wilds of Lancashire and foggy London form the backdrop for this gripping tale. This is award-winning MacBird’s debut novel, she has been a Conan Doyle devotee since she was 10. It will enchant fans of period drama and dearly beloved Holmes.”



“…here we have a new Sherlock Holmes adventure that even the most traditional Conan Doyle aficionado will enjoy. If you think that nothing could compare to the original Sherlock Holmes stories, then this book will surely change your mind…. It is immaculately researched, the tone is exactly right — but even better, it’s a rollicking and exciting adventure. Ms McBird skilfully avoids descending into cliché and any hint of caricature; she has created an authentic Holmes adventure with its own freshness and touch of fun.”



“Screenwriter Bonnie MacBird makes her pastiche debut with this fast-paced Victorian adventure…

I also enjoyed the book’s subtle and skilled use of references and tongue-in-cheek nods to classic tropes of the genre – watch out for the appearance of Holmes’ French counterpart in Paris. The book is very strong on atmosphere, especially in the descriptions of the locales involved and a wonderfully colourful cast of side and incidental characters, which really draw the reader into the world of the book…. The fast-paced plot is well-constructed and keeps readers’ attentions engaged. A solid debut…”



“MacBird succeeds at holding the attention of the reader by never allowing the predictable to play out. Her book has been, by far, the best Sherlock Holmes novel I have ever read, other than Doyle himself.”



“Macbird has given us back the Sherlock Holmes of old…. (she) is able to find a tale that holds realism, then twists and turns the plot in ways to keep you ducking red herrings, while Holmes alone seems to see behind and around the decoys. If you enjoy mystery and intrigue, and are a fan of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes you will love this work.”



“MacBird illustrates the energy leading up to the turn of the century, giving the reader a tantalizing taste of the art and sensuality that defined Bohemian culture, set in high contrast to the seedy side of industrialization and its exploitation of child labor and the corruption of money. And weaving in and out of all this chaos is Holmes, with his astute, hypersensitive observations and clever, sharp-tongued witticisms that only get him in trouble. This is a smashing, fast-paced page-turner that shines.”



“In Art in the Blood, Bonnie MacBird has achieved the rare distinction of writing a ‘missing Sherlock Holmes’ story that actually reads like Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s work. Recommended for all lovers of Sherlock Holmes’ exploits.”



“The tone and the pacing of Art in the Blood are extremely faithful to Conan Doyle’s, as are the characters of Holmes and Watson. The descriptions are so eloquent and vivid that I could easily picture Paris and London in the Victorian era, as well as a 34-year-old Sherlock exalted and whooshing about. I also enjoyed the author’s attention to detail, particularly when it came to medical and scientific matters; there is not a hint of revisionism, which greatly pleased me. There is plenty of action, the characters are uniformly well-rounded, and the clever ending took me completely by surprise. Art in the Blood is a very well written mystery that does justice to the original!”



“Moving the story between London and Paris, MacBird uses rich melodrama, mystery, and details about art and Victorian times to enchant the reader. The book is set at the beginning of Holmes sleuthing career, after Watson has married Mary Morstan. The dialogue feels modern, yet has all the depth of Victorian times. MacBird’s fast-paced story is perfect for Sherlock Holmes fans, written in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”



“There’s plenty of twists and turns in this classic-inspired mystery!”



Art in the Blood is an entertaining adventure that took me right back to the nineteenth century…

The portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in this novel is interesting because although he comes across in his usual brilliant and unconventional way, he wasn’t overly eccentric… (he) doesn’t always appear as the omniscient genius everyone believes him to be. He’s still brilliant, but he’s also more subtle and I liked the human touch this gave to his character. You can sense Watson’s frustration in the narrative at times towards Holmes and it’s quite amusing, but Watson is the same as always and shows never-ending concern — and affection for his friend… plenty of action… a rewarding read.”



“…this delightful and entertaining adventure… rendering the relationship between Holmes and Watson with a stunning authenticity… but her touch of Hollywood – dialogue and attitudes at times call to mind some of the pairings who best portrayed them, and other characters particularly the fiery and beautiful cabaret singer Mlle Cherie Cerise, née Emmeline La Victoire and Holmes’ French rival Jean Vidocq – appear cast with an actor in mind. This added sparkle does nothing to detract from a fast-moving story that takes the reader from the cabarets and artist’ studios of Gay Paree, including an all-to-brief appearance by Toulouse Lautrec, to a snowy and grim country estate in Lancashire, mixing real and fictitious places and characters… Plenty of twist and turns, plots and sub-plots, as the apparently separate investigations converge, plus some chilling and convincing villains make this a fast-paced page-turner.  But it is MacBird’s portrayal of the genuine warmth in the relationship between Holmes and Watson which makes this a worthy successor to Doyle’s ripping yarns.”



“I predict that this novel is going to be very well received by Sherlockian readers.  It deserves to be.”



“… spot-on. … like reading an Arthur Conan Doyle novel… The story is fast-paced; the dialogue authentic; the twisting plot intriguing. Elements readers have come to expect in any Holmes story are there: Holmes in disguise; Watson with his theories; Mycroft and his hidden motives. There is also disappearing ink; disappearing clients; and, of course, a disappearing Holmes…

Holmes spews a few classic lines…On French women: ‘When a Frenchwoman is not a beauty, she is yet a work of art. And when she is beautiful, there are none of her sex to surpass her.'”



“…a very deep and rich story where we get to see a different side of Holmes that is more vulnerable and fragile, both in body and mind.  I absolutely loved it with its rich story, dark subjects and truly interesting characters that go beyond the detective and the doctor…”



Art in the Blood is akin to decadent chocolate dessert for the Sherlockian soul. You start devouring it and you just can’t stop until the last spoonful is gone. Enthralling narrative, with the Great Detective and the Good Doctor captured oh-so-beautifully, seductive hints of darkness and poignant insights into the heart of Sherlock himself. I have not been so moved by a pastiche so much since I read The Seven-Per-Cent-Solution by Nicholas Meyer at age 13…. Her repertoire of masterful storytelling, witty dialogues, heart-wrenching drama, meticulous research and well-woven mystery is certainly impressive. Her writing is sublime; you can feel Holmes and Watson around you – so tangible that you can almost touch them. And I kid you not, Sherlockian, there are nail-biting moments and times when you need to give them both a hug – more for your sake than theirs.”



“I’ve been a Sherlock Holmes fan since I was a kid. My parents got me The Complete Works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle one Christmas, and I was hooked.

My enjoyment of the character spread to his various film and TV incarnations. If I had to pick a preferred version of the great detective… I couldn’t. I like them all for different reasons, which would make a great article of its own one day…

I know other authors have tackled Holmes and Watson, and kept their literary adventurers alive and well, but I never bothered picking one up until I came across Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird. I didn’t believe anyone could continue what Doyle did in book form. Fortunately, when it came to Ms. MacBird’s work, I was wrong.

Art in the Bloods reads a lot like Doyle’s stories, with Watson continuing to narrate some “lost cases” he and Holmes embarked on. This one has to do with art theft, a series of murders, and a child’s disappearance.

The story gets dark — real dark — but MacBird maintains the narrative style we’ve come to expect from Watson, so nothing is too gruesome or out of character for these stories. This is a fast paced and thrilling adventure in the style of the originals (just like it says on the back of the book) but trust me, as a long-time fan, this is very much the real deal!

If you’ve read Doyle’s work, this will feel like a welcome reunion with old friends, right down to the prose MacBird incorporates to tell the tale. She’s got the tone and style down, and I respect her for it.

Art in the Blood is good, and highly recommended for fans.”



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