Sunday, 6 November 2016


Image result for a study in sable
A Study In Sable: The Elemental Masters by Mercedes Lackey

One of ten novels in the series that looks at Dr.John Watson, who is an Elemental Master of water and takes the sort of occult cases his dear friend, Sherlock Holmes refuses to even consider. Though Holmes appears uninterested with the occult and those cases, he does vet Nan and Sarah for him as he wants to work with them on difficult or near impossible cases. Nan is a psychic, while Sarah is a medium and together with their birds, Neville the raven and Grey the parrot, they are four of the most talented investigators around. They even surprise Watson and Holmes with their skills and use of their talents.

Grey and Neville are Astral Guardians who have special abilities they can put to use on cases where Nan and Sarah might miss some opportunity to solve them based on their own abilities. As Astral Guardians, Grey and Neville have the ability to be able "to read things about the past of objects by handling them." Watson's current case, the one Holmes dismisses as "twaddle" is of Number 10 Berkley Square where a dark spirit haunts the place and has already killed several humans.

Enlisting the help of Beatrice, a witch (Earth Magician according to Watson) who asks the local fauns in the park as they are well aware of the goings on at that place for fifty years. Fear seems to strike anyone who knows about Number 10, and no one dare go there.

In A Study in Sable, London is separated into two types of people, those who believe in the occult and those, like Holmes who don't. Lackey could be saying in her story that those who are non believers are far luckier than those who do, as Beatrice has the experience of trying to put off those who want to delve into the occult using drink and dangerous mind-bending drugs, but the effect Number 10 Berkley Square has on some is enough to make the hair stand on end.

I like the book cover as much as I liked reading the novel. Jody Lee has shown us a window into Holmes's live, playing his violin in his study while the things he doubts, ghosts, spirits and the afterlife swirl around him. She has weaved them together along with Grey and Neville in a contrast of mauve and orange hues.