London in the 19th century must have been a cesspool of sin, where murderers and manslayers and other dark criminals must have met. At least that’s what the crime literature of the time tries telling us.
But luckily, the city of London accommodates the impersonation of the bad boys’ nightmare, and this is well known to us. Sherlock Holmes with his sharp logic and his somewhat simple-minded sidekick Watson – a doctor, no less – put a stop to the scoundrels in many stories.
No wonder that more than 130 years after the first appearance of this duo, penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the stories are still fascinating audiences worldwide and produce new interpretations. The comic album In Sherlock Holmes’ Mind (original title: Dans la tête de Sherlock Holmes) introduces the reader to the character in a different way. We can literally see the thought processes of Holmes in his head and how he analyzes and solves the Case of the scandalous ticket on the basis of the evidence.
The demise of a young servant seems only at first glance to be an accident. Watson discovers a mysterious powder on the unfortunate woman’s clothes and in her pockets a ticket to a performance, which on closer inspection links the disappearances of several other London citizens to a mysterious Chinese magician. From then on it becomes a race against time and both of them put themselves in grave danger the closer they get to the culprit.
The scenarist Cyril Lieron and the illustrator Benoît Dahan transpose the story in an unusual yet enchanting way in the style of the 19th century. The sheets resemble the yellowed pages of older printed works, the drawings are extremely detailed and, through the choice of color palette, give a gloomy, foggy impression of London around 1890. At the same time, the usual sequence of pictures is completely broken up and full-page drawings alternate with sweeping box shapes, giving the story its own dynamic.
Readers will have to be patient for the end of this exciting story, as it will only revealed in the second volume, which has yet to be published.
The album was published in French by ankama and costs €14.90. Here is a trailer video of the first volume of the two-part story.