San Francisco inspector Kate Martinelli has had a lot of weird cases, but a body found in a Marin County park embattlement draws her into the world of Sherlock Holmes devotees.

Urbane Philip Gilbert was the unofficial head of the Strand Diners and the owner of a priceless assembly of Holmes collectibles, including an aged manuscript, purportedly an unpublished work written by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Was Philip's death a result of contention among collectors, a robbery gone awry or a lovers' quarrel? And of which sex was the lover? Kate and her partner, Al Hawkin, soon discover that the old manuscript may offer clues to the murder itself -- or it just may be the biggest red herring in a case scattered with them.

This is a first-rate mystery-within-a-mystery, and whether it's Martinelli's present-day investigation or the century-old tale within the manuscript's pages, King's plotting, characters and settings are flawless, complex and tantalizing. (Jun., 368 pp., $24.00)
Reviewed by: 
Pat Cooper