Mercedes Lackey’s “Elemental Masters” series: A Study in Sable


A Study in Sable (2016)

[Based on “The Twa Sisters” (“The Two Sisters”).  Also, in this story, Ms Lackey combines her Elemental Masters world with the world of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.]

Nan and Sarah (who previously appeared in “The Wizard of London” and “Home from the Sea”) have been retained by Lord Alderscroft as psychic investigators. He has set them up in a flat in London.

Nan and Sarah have the care and training of a former street urchin called Suki, also with psychic powers, who lives with them in their flat. They had rescued her from a fake medium, who had been using her to read the minds of the clients. And rather than send her to an orphanage or a workhouse, they had taken her into their own care. Suki has similar psychic abilities to Nan, namely telepathy and psychometry (that is, the ability of reading the history of an object).

Lord Alderscroft sends Nan and Sarah to assist Dr John Watson (the associate of Sherlock Holmes) and his wife Mary in their investigation of cases involving magical elements. In the Elemental Masters version of the world, John Watson is a Water Master, and Mary is an Air Master. Sherlock Holmes is sceptical about the existence of magic, and John and Mary take those cases which Holmes rejects which contain magical elements. Although Nan and Sarah are there to assist the Watsons, they do also assist Holmes with some of his cases. This work involves a number of visits to Baker Street over a period of days, and the girls return home to their flat at the end of each day.

First they tackle again the creature at Number 10, Berkley Square, which Nan and Sarah had encountered as children, in “The Wizard of London”.

Sherlock Holmes is investigating the disappearance of Johanna, a young woman from Germany, who came to London with her sister Magdalena, who is an opera singer.

Quite independently, Magdalena, discovering that Sarah is a medium, requests her to come to her hotel room, where she is tormented each night by ghosts. Sarah discovers a huge number of ghosts each night, somehow attracted to Magdalena. Sarah is kept busy for many nights trying to guide the ghosts to the afterlife.

In the meantime, Lord Alderscroft sends Nan, John and Mary, with Suki and the raven Neville coming along too, to Kent, where there is a report of someone performing blood sacrifices.

Nan becomes jealous of Sarah, who is attending Magdalena’s performances at the opera, and eating sumptuous meals provided by Magdalena. But she gradually becomes aware of a change in Sarah; she is beginning to become obsessively dependent on Magdalena. Is Magdalena exerting some mysterious influence over her?


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