Above-average Holmes pastiche--as much gothic as mystery, but without the silliness and stuffiness that afflict most attempts to concoct newly discovered, never-published manuscripts from the hand of Dr. Watson. In this case from the early Holmes/Watson period, the sleuth is drawn into the quest of Watson's old school-chum Aleck Raleigh--a descendant of Sir Walter whose only inheritance is Nightsead, a crumbling rural manse (once an ancient monastery), and a cryptic fragment of correspondence from Sir W.'s time. Does this letter contain a clue to some buried treasure at Nightsead? So it seems--because once Aleck begins trying to decipher the document, he and his new bride (herself a possible fortune-hunter) go from one mysterious peril to another. And the likely villain in all this is Aleck's slimy, youngish stepfather--though other suspicious sorts lurk in Nightsead's bleakly scenic environs. Constantly shuttling to and fro from London to the country, Holmes and Watson look for shadowy assailants--and for clues in Jacobean history. But it isn't until after murder most foul (the Nightsead housekeeper) that the culprits and the treasure are brought to light. Bright, brisk, and sentimental: a modest treat for non-fanatic Holmes fans (the Holmesiana is understated here) partial to enigmatic ruins and English history.