The House of Lost Horizons: A Sarah Jewell Mystery #3 Review

by Nick Devonald on July 13, 2021

Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Leila Del Duca
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Clem Robins

Our murder mystery set in Mignola’s Hellboy universe continues to heat up this month. Suspicion over who killed the latest victim is rife, and all of the likely suspects have alibi’s. It’s abundantly clear that all of the guests who’ve found themselves trapped within the mansion have different, and mysterious, reasons to be there, which make them secretive and gives each character the potential to be the murderer. What makes this issue more interesting is that both Sarah Jewell and Marie-Thérèse LaFleur both have differing theories on who is behind the recent spate of murders, and both go their separate ways in their investigation to find the killer. It helps keep the reader guessing as well. Will one of them be right? Or is Chris Roberson just throwing a couple of Red Herrings our way?

The occult aspect of the story is beginning to build up as well. There's been a supernatural element to the story from the very start, the auction itself is based around occult items, and as the story progresses it’s becoming more and more clear that whatever is going on is tied deeply to these objects. The guests dreams are also increasing in intensity and again it feels like there is a strong connection to everything which is going on. Like the best murder mysteries the story is filled with intrigue and different puzzle pieces, and each issue drip feeds the reader a few more, and while it looks like a few pieces of the puzzle are coming together there aren’t enough yet to build the bigger picture yet. It keeps readers frantically guessing and coming up with new theories.

Another well done aspect of the comic is trapping them in this mansion, in a storm, on an island. At one point some of the characters remind the others there is no escaping for the moment. It helps to build the tension as the only option left to our characters is to remain trapped with a killer.

Leila Del Duca has been the perfect artist to bring this series to life. She’s created a varied cast of interesting characters, but it’s the way she captures their facial expressions that really adds to the story. The supernatural elements which have slowly been building in the background come to the fore more in this issue, and Del Duca does an excellent job with them. The dreams are haunting and terrifying, and the magic looks excellent. Michelle Madsen’s colours are a great accompaniment to Del Duca’s art, she captures the dark and gloomy storm brilliantly in stark contrast to the well lit mansion.

At the midpoint in our murder mystery there are no obvious winners in the most suspicious character stakes, each characters motives and goals remain in the shadows, leaving readers to make wild guesses to what’s going on. The art compliments the story and the final comic is compulsive reading, a classic murder mystery with supernatural overtones, and looks fantastic. Set years before Hellboy no prior knowledge of the universe is necessary, a perfect jumping on point for readers who want a flavour of the world without a massive commitment.

Our Score:


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