Shirley Combs and Dr. Mary Watson are drawn into a fascinating mystery in Sandra De Helen’s The Hounding. Set in and around a very convincing Portland Oregon, filled with realistic characters, twisting through red herrings and mysterious clues, and pleasingly logical, this novel is first in the author’s Shirley Combs/Dr. Watson series. And yes, the connection with England’s famous Sherlock Holmes is deliberate—it also works very well.
There are plenty of suspects, all nicely organized, to keep the mystery alive. There’s rain, forest, zoo and more to make the scenery real. There are all the modern-day issues Oregon delights in being famous for. And there’s a nicely journalistic tone that evokes the more ancient Dr. Watson perfectly.
With just enough mystery to intrigue, just enough logic to entice, just enough homage to the past to feel right, and just enough of the present to make it new and exciting, this feels like the beginning of a thoroughly enjoyable series and I’m looking forward to reading more.
Dislcosure: I read about this on the internet and jumped at the chance of an ecopy when they were offered free.