MARK FROST – The Six Messiahs. Conan Doyle #2. Morrow, hardcover. 1995. Avon, paperback, 1996.

   Frost’s The List of 7 last year was an unexpected pleasure for me. It was a good, old-fashioned thriller rather than a crime novel, a story whose plot wouldn’t have been out of place in the pulps of the early decades of this century. It featured the pre-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (who seems to be bidding to become as popular a lead as his creation) as does this, its sequel. I wonder — are there any figures of our time who will be seen as fascinating enough 60 or 70 years from now to be made heroes in thrillers? I don’t think so.

   A decade had passed since the events of the previous book, and the now-famous Doyle is making a tour of the US, accompanied by his younger brother, Innes. During the trip across the Atlantic by steamer a man is murdered, and evidence surfaces regarding the attempted theft of a rare and valuable religious book. Later, in New York, it becomes clear that there is a conspiracy by some very evil and competent people to steal a number of the world’s most revered religious works, to some end as yet unknown.

   The above plot summary is wholly inadequate, but it was going to be unless I wanted to give half a page to it. This is another book like its predecessor, a fantastic thriller that’s very well written and very enjoyable if you can take it on its own terms. I can’t with modern thrillers, but I can and did with this. Go figure.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #21, August-September 1995


Editorial Update: This was the second and last of only two books in Frost’s series of Conan Doyle adventure thrillers. According to a source I found online: “Mark Frost is an American novelist, screenwriter, director and film producer, best known as a writer for the television series Hill Street Blues and as the co-creator of the television series Twin Peaks.”