Dead Man's Land, Paperback
4 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Deep in the trenches of Flanders Fields, men are dying in their thousands every day.

So one more death shouldn't be a surprise. But then a body turns up with bizarre injuries, and Sherlock Holmes' former sidekick Dr John Watson - unable to fight for his country due to injury but able to serve it through his medical expertise - finds his suspicions raised.

The face has a blue-ish tinge, the jaw is clamped shut in a terrible rictus and the eyes are almost popping out of his head, as if the man had seen unimaginable horror.

Something is terribly wrong. But this is just the beginning. Soon more bodies appear, and Watson must discover who is the killer in the trenches.

Who can he trust? Who is the enemy? And can he find the perpetrator before he kills again?

Surrounded by unimaginable carnage, amidst a conflict that's ripping the world apart, Watson must for once step out of the shadows and into the limelight if he's to solve the mystery behind the inexplicable deaths.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Thriller / suspense
  • ISBN: 9781849839570



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Dead Man’s Land by Robert Ryan was a very good thriller set among the muddy trenches of World War I. The author chose Dr. John Watson to anchor this story, and, I think, did a very good job with this iconic character. Ryan includes enough references to Sherlock Holmes and the relationship between the two men to remind the reader of their past detective efforts yet this would be just as easily read if one wasn’t familiar with this duo. Although rather elderly to be serving at the front, Dr. Watson arrives with the intent to oversee and record the new medical technique of blood transfusions. He stumbles into a murder mystery and along with the intrepid VAD, Georgina Gregson is soon working to uncover a killer.Along with the main story, the author includes a side story about a German sniper that I really enjoyed. The excursions out into No Man’s Land were vivid and terrifying. A well-known celebrity also appears as Winston Churchill makes an appearance in the story as well. Details about the conditions that the medical staff worked under, and indeed, the shortcomings of medical knowledge of that time period was appalling. Overall the realistic descriptions of the war, the actual murder mystery and the strong characterization of Dr. Watson made Dead Man’s Land a satisfying page turner.

Review by

The Great War is raging, and an aging Major John Watson has been recommissioned to train medical personnel on the front lines in the new technique of blood transfusion. After the death of a patient who had just received a blood transfusion, Watson sets out first to prove that the blood transfusion didn't cause the death, and then to identify the cause. Is it possible that someone has taken advantage of the chaos of war to commit a murder? Dr. Watson tries to imagine how his old friend and partner Sherlock Holmes might tackle the problem. Watson's pursuit of the truth brings him into great danger, and also endangers the lives of his two young VAD nursing assistants.Dr. Watson and the Great War are an inspired pairing. Ryan hit the right tone both with the aging Dr. Watson and with the glimpses he gives of Watson's former partner and friend. I looked forward to picking up the book whenever I had a chance to read. One of the things I enjoy about mysteries is trying to piece together clues to solve the mystery before the fictional detective does. I'm always a little disappointed with books like this one where the characters acquire knowledge that isn't shared with the reader. I was also disappointed with some aspects of the ending. The setting and characters made it worthwhile, and I'm looking forward to seeing what this author will do with them next.

Review by

I really enjoyed this book. Dr Watson is recommissioned into the army in France and encounters a serial killer. Enjoyable and well written. I'll be getting the next one to read.

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