Sherlock Holmes connection

The Prayer of the Night Shepherd - Phil Rickman
The back of my copy of this book as a quote that says Rickman writes very good dialogue, and this is absolutely spot on.

This entry into the Merrily Watkins series finds Jane working at a hotel that draws people with a connection to Conan Doyle that may or may not be factual. The connection sis the source, or potential source, of the Hound of the Baskervilles. The hotel is struggling, and the owner, Ben, is determined to make it succeed by using his BBC connections. Doyle the mystery writer and Doyle the spiritualist both play a role in this novel.

Ben's wife, Amber, isn’t too happy about any of it. But she can cook.

While Jane is busy earning some money and making her boyfriend jealous by working with a camera, Merrily finds herself caught up in a family drama involving an accident and a death of a young boy.

And then there is the question of Lol and the sorting of his relationship with Watkins.

The dialogue in the book is so organic and works so well. Everyone speaks a certain way, and while Merrily and Jane are the center, Gomer and Lol get center stage in some chapters.

What makes the Watkins so good is how well Rickman writes women from the central characters done to the minor supporting cast. And the women usually don’t hate each other and always seen to be more than stereotypes. In this book, in particular, Rickman does an excellent job with the character of Brigid.

The other strong point is the use of belief and the otherworld. Rickman keeps it somewhat open ended, allowing a more mundane mystery to be separate from the spiritual mystery (which may or may not be spiritual depending on your view).