Saberhagen, Fred


3 out of 5

(1 book)

Seance For A Vampire

Part of Saberhagen's series of Dracula books, you can read this without prior knowledge of the series (I certainly did!).  Set in 1907, Sherlock Holmes and the redoubtable Watson are hired to debunk a pair of spiritualists.  However, although the mediums may be false, a genuine supernatural power lies behind them and when Holmes is kidnapped, Watson must call in help from the detective's distant cousin, the undead Prince Dracula.

I wasn't expecting to like a book featuring both Sherlock Holmes and Dracula but found that Saberhagen writes a good story whose tone is perfectly in keeping with those of both Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker.  And, perhaps most impressively, he doesn't fall into the trap of assuming that the down-to-earth and somewhat unimaginative Watson therefore can't be a character on a par with the other protagonists.

The downside to this book does, however, derive from Saberhagen's appropriation of other author's characters.  The truth is that, despite Doyle himself being a misguided Spiritualist, Sherlock Holmes does not sit well in a story where the mystery is supernatural in nature.  There is no great reveal in which he shows how everything has a mundane explanation (see the glowing dog in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles') and the ending feels like an anticlimax as a result.

3 out of 5


Horror (here)