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The Empress of India

From Publishers Weekly
Sherlock Holmes vanishes down a London sewer early in Edgar-finalist Kurland's fun fourth novel featuring the sleuth's archenemy, James Moriarty (after 2001's The Great Game). In 1890, a quarter-ton of gold is being shipped from Calcutta to the Bank of England via the eponymous luxury liner, whose passengers include the evil professor, fellow villain Col. Sebastian Moran, and members of the semicomical "Limehouse Coneys," an assortment of urchins and London lowlifes under the direction of inscrutable Dr. Pin Dok Low. Escorting this treasure are 30 crack Highland Lancers commanded by Brig. Gen. Sir Edward St. Yves, who's traveling with his comely and seductive daughter, Margaret. Chaos bordering on slapstick ensues as Moriarty and Moran try to abscond with the bejeweled statuette "Queen of Lamapoor," which is also hidden aboard the luckless liner. Lots of Indian lore adds colorful background to this "seemingly impossible crime," before its satisfying, if not startling, resolution. (Feb.)