Reviewed by Nina Longfield

The Baskerville Legacy by John O’Connell is a novel that could have been inspired by true events. Whether a work of fact or fiction, this novel is a tantalizing examination of mysteries and deductive story writing. The premise of The Baskerville Legacy poses the question as to who really wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles, attributed to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Set in 1900, The Baskerville Legacy begins with the narrator, Bertie, meeting Conan Doyle aboard a homebound troop ship the Briton. They are returning to England with several hundred veteran soldiers of the Second Boer War. Bertie is an editor for a weekly London paper and an aspiring novelist. When Doyle asks Bertie to collaborate on a new story, Bertie and his friends are thrilled with the prospects. Each speculates as to the type of novel the two writers will collaborate on and whether this teamwork will resurrect Sherlock Holmes. However Bertie’s excitement turns to skepticism as the story progresses into a more insidious mystery.

The narrator of The Baskerville Legacy seems rather bitter and down on the detective genre. I could be mistaken but, as the narrator is trying to write his own detective story, he seems to take jabs at, not only Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, but also Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, a character not yet invented at the setting of this novel. This resentment is somewhat amusing since the narrator is attempting to write a detective story of his own. Yet, The Baskerville Legacy is a novel of hindsight, and revelations by the narrator throughout the story explain why his attitude is down on Doyle.

Written in a voice reminiscent of Arthur Conan Doyle’s style, John O’Connell offers a well written and entertaining story in The Baskerville Legacy.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Short Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.