THE SCIENCE OF DEDUCTION: A STUDY IN GREY is a novella by John Linwood Grant that follows Captain Redvers Blake, a British officer assigned to a section of Military Intelligence that is referred to as The Special Branch. The Special Branch deals with cases that are odd or have a supernatural bent to them, sort of like an X-Files set during the Edwardian period. Along the way, Blake gets assistance from the retired great detective himself, Sherlock Holmes, due to some of the principals involved having been the subjects of one of his previous investigations. Blake, who possesses the gift of psychometry (the ability to see glimpses of the past through touch), is also joined by Abigail Jessop, a psychic medium, and burly Henry Dodgson, a former associate of iconic psychic detective Carnacki The Ghost Finder. I particularly enjoyed the references to Carnacki since I’ve long been a fan of the character William Hope Hodgson created in 1913.
This particular case revolves around a high ranking British official who’s been taking military advice from his deceased son during a series of seances he’s been regularly attending. With war on the horizon, there is concern someone may be using these sittings to garner classified information from him.
The story mixes action, intrigue, and mystery with touches of horror to it. Its dialog and descriptions do an excellent job setting the proper mood for the time period during which it’s set. My only minor quibble has to do with the number of characters involved. Being that it’s a mystery, a lot of characters are necessary to create a pool of suspects, but I did find myself occasionally struggling to remember who some of them were. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough to prevent me from enjoying the the overall story. I have a particular fondness for the scenes set during the seances, as well as the descriptions of the creepy, mask-wearing Count Von Alten, whose past has led to Sherlock Holmes interest in the case. So, if you’re in the mood for a mystery involving psychic agents and eerie seances set in Edwardian England, A STUDY IN GREY, should be right up your alley.
Reviewed by Matt Cowan
Amazon link to A STUDY IN GREY: https://www.amazon.com/Study-Grey-Sherlock-Holmes-Deduction-ebook/dp/B01E886IDC
Horror Delve was provided a digital copy of A STUDY IN GREY to review for the site.