With Conan Doyle’s stories treated more or less as coat pegs on which to hang the digressions of Universal’s modern series, this one establishes an agreeable enough atmosphere and momentum, despite only the central plot device linking back to the author.
Why these films never stuck to the original texts I’ll never know. With occasional wartime propaganda spuriously added in, these vehicles for someone else work in Holmes’s clothing rarely come close to Doyle’s deftness of plotting and imagination. As it is the scriptwriter here seems more fixated with Agatha Christie with a downward tick-list of victims.
Mind you, old dark houses in remote locations with a pre-assembled set of suspects have an obvious if creaky appeal. For A preceding B with C succeeding, this rote working through of dour Scots cliches and almost-closed room mysteries has a briskness in its step to overcome most qualms about originality.