Sherlock Holmes: The Thinking Engine
Man vs Machine
it is 1895, and Sherlock Holmes is settling back into life as a consulting detective at 221B Baker Street, when he and Watson learn of strange goings-on amidst the dreaming spires of Oxford.
A Professor Quantock has built a wondrous computational device, which he claims is capable of analytical thought to rival the cleverest men alive. Naturally Sherlock Holmes cannot ignore this challenge. He and Watson travel to Oxford, where a battle of wits ensues between the great detective and his mechanical counterpart as they compete to see which of them can be first to solve a series of crimes, from a bloody murder to a missing athlete. But as man and machine vie for supremacy, it becomes clear that the Thinking Engine has its own agenda...
In Lovegrove's entertaining third Sherlock Holmes pastiche (after 2014's Sherlock Holmes: The Gods of War), Malcolm Quantock, a professor at Oxford's Balliol College, claims to have invented a machine that's capable of solving crimes, and Lord Knaresfield, a newspaper mogul, bets 500 that no one not even Holmes can outsmart it. The case chosen for the test, which Holmes accepts, is the deadly stabbing of Tabitha Grainger and her two daughters. The obvious suspect is Tabitha's husband, a brutish bricklayer, but he has an unshakable alibi. The thinking man and the thinking machine match wits on several more cases as a number of unrelated murders are committed in the university town. Meanwhile, Professor Moriarty's number two, Col. Sebastian Moran, has escaped custody and is on the loose. The resolution is a bit disappointing, but Lovegrove does a solid, if not superior, job of faithfully rendering Holmes and Watson.