A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.
It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.
But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered.
And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel.
Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?
With Pipps imprisoned, only Arent can solve a mystery that connects every passenger onboard. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was one of my favourite books of 2018, and when I first read the synopsis for The Devil and the Dark Water I couldn’t wait for it to be released. Stuart Turton doesn’t disappoint in this new murder mystery across the high seas, and a Sherlock and Watson duo amongst some vibrant and memorable characters.
Samuel Pipps a world famous detective is the prisoner of General Jan Haan, a powerful and influential figure, and is having to be transported from Batavia to Amsterdam at the request of the Gentleman 17 who wish to see him executed. It isn’t revealed as to what Pipps has been accused of and whether he’s guilty or not. Immediately I got the Sherlock Holmes vibe from Pipps, the mannerisms, sharp wit, and intelligence were there as well as his partner and loyal bodyguard Arent. Differing from a Sherlock novel, its actually Arent who takes on the duties of a detective and investigating the potential demon onboard the Saardam who threatens to kill them all.
I’m sure I won’t be the only one who went into this book thinking I was getting a typical and safe murder mystery adventure. Instead Turton gives a dark, brilliantly clever, detailed, unpredictable, and twisted drama of suspense and uncertainty. We have demons, complex relationships, old superstitious tales, a blossoming romance, life on the high seas, and interesting characters with various vibrant personalities. I really did need to concentrate on keeping an eye of whose who in this book in case I missed any vital information, and as well as I had done this I wasn’t expecting the conclusion the story brings. I was surprised but not disappointed by any lack of confusion or absurdity, and I’m thankful because it would have spoilt an excellent story.
The Devil and the Dark Water isn’t your typical murder mystery, it comes with so many different elements of genius that will have you reading it at every opportunity. I can honestly say I will pick up anything that Stuart Turton writes, I think he’s a genius and an author who will carry on writing new and unique ideas.