Short Take: “The Long Sleep,” William Meikle

Pros: Delightful short mystery
Cons:
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Mostly I’ve read William Meikle’s creature-features and cosmic horrors. This time I decided to read one of his Sherlock Holmes tales: The Long Sleep: A Weird Sherlock Holmes Adventure. Watson narrates a tale of a mysterious coffin-shaped box that’s been shipped from Persia to England, spreading terror and disease in its wake. He doesn’t think much of the story when he hears it, but in a slow moment he relates the tale to Holmes, and Holmes connects it with an article he read. He’s between cases and happily dives into solving the new mystery. Holmes and Watson track down various people who encountered the box while on its journey, and finally figure out who was in charge of the shipment. When they track him down, he offers to hire Holmes and Watson to figure out how to open the sarcophagus. His business partners, however, aren’t so sure this is a good idea.

This is a novella–not terribly long, but just the right length for what it is. Watson’s voice is engaging and feels appropriate to the milieu. Holmes is his entertaining self, as are the various typical characters around them. My favorite parts are interactions between the famous duo and those they aim to help. The side characters have more depth than I tend to expect from a story of this length, that’s already focused heavily on specific characters. Lord Northwich’s manservant in particular intrigued me.

The sarcophagus holds some interesting mysteries, and for a while it’s hard to tell whether they’re supernatural or man-made (I won’t spoil the answer!). I really enjoyed watching Holmes work the mystery, and watching Watson try to keep up! This is a fun read, and I’ll have to check out some of Meikle’s other Holmes tales.

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