Caiden Cooper Myles strikes the absolutely correct tone in The Further Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Miles’s prose rolls smoothly along—highlighting gas-lit, foggy London streets as well as the firelight in the sitting room of that famous duo—Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. The reader can see the yellow, swirling fog with gas lamps glowing dimly without casting much light.
In “The Adventure of the Sinister Correspondent,” coded messages under stamps reminds me of “The Adventure of the Dancing Men” in that secret coded messages portend problems for the recipient. “The Problem of Hazelwood Grange” reminds me of The Hound of the Baskervilles in that Holmes sends Watson in his place to help gather clues, view the scene of the crime, and report back to Holmes. Watson purports himself well in this story. He is a well-drawn character in this story, as well as the rest of the tales. “The Adventure of the Drury Lane Pawnbroker” brings to mind “The Red-Headed League” because it deals with pawnbrokers and the misappropriation or mishandling of money. “The Adventure of the Naval Architect” recalls “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty.” Both involve stolen military secrets.
The author of these further adventures strikes the right note with both Holmes and Watson’s characterization. Watson always has an eye for women, as, in “The Adventure of the Braden Park Bench,” Watson notes, “She had dark hair, bright blue eyes, and an air of confidence beyond her years. I was immediately struck by her beauty.” On the other hand, Holmes stands as a more intellectual plateau in the same story about Braden Park. For example, “Mid-morning the following day, Holmes and I found ourselves in Amberley. It was a charming village which appealed to me but it did not appeal to my friend whose love of Mother Nature was largely limited to her poisons.”
Illustrations in this anthology are not the best. The frontispiece illustration before “The Adventure of the Sinister Correspondent” has Holmes in a too-small puffy chair . A puffy, gummy bear chair that looks like it will swallow him.
Caiden Cooper Myles demonstrates a knowledge of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes canon. I mentioned a few similarities between Myles’ stories anthologized in The Further Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and Doyle’s stories. Similarities may exist for the other stories as well. But significant time has elapsed since I’ve read the original Holmes canon for me to be forgetful. These similarities in no way detract from Myles’ stories themselves or of my enjoyment of them. In fact, the faint similarities enhanced my appreciation of Myles’ writing style. Myles takes his version of Holmes and Watson in a new direction, including some modernizations such as Holmes’ use of a telephone. Myles’ stories are in no way derivative. They stand alone, a well-done addition to the contemporary Holmes canon.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Torso at Highgate Cemetery and Other Sherlock Holmes Stories by Tim Symonds has all the expected tropes, such as foggy London streets and fast hansom cab rides. From Highgate Cemetery to Holmes’ retirement bee farm in Sussex Holmes and Watson are “crammed into an agile hansom rattling off to Charing Cross Station [Watson’s] revolver tucked into a pocket.” One of the stories even has Watson in a prison in Istanbul! He even had a visitation from Mycroft Holmes and was sent to Crete to search for Holmes.
Things and times are more modern in some ways, too. Holmes has a telephone in the house at his farm. Modernity abounds as Holmes and Watson take a ride in a motorized hackney (i.e., an initial form of a car).
Overall, I liked these stories. Crisp writing enlivens them and causes tension. For example, in “The Torso at Highgate Cemetery,” Holmes and Watson indirectly cause the death of a Chinese scribe. Some oddities exist, too. In “The Mystery of the Missing Artefacts,” Watson had offered his services during World War I. While imprisoned, Watson received a telegram from Holmes to come assist him. As if Watson were casually sitting in his house in Marylebone. Upon Watson’s return, Holmes picked up relations with him as if Watson had been away on vacation. Really?!
Readers who enjoy works about the ever-popular Holmes and Watson, detectives extraordinaire, will be happy with this selection of short stories. From dealing with the ever-dangerous Colonel Sebastian Moran to scaring Dr. Watson with galloping knights and ghostly monks, things happen within these stories. Although some stories had sluggish spots; overall these six were enjoyable.
Not my favorite stories in the Holmes-Watson canon of pastiches. But, I would read other Holmes-Watson adventures written by this author.
I received a copy of The Torso at Highgate Cemetery and Other Sherlock Holmes Stories in exchange for an honest review.
In Sherlock Holmes: The Persian Slipper and Other Stories, Brenda Seabrooke does an excellent job of recreating Arthur Conan Doyle’s brisk, steady pacing. Seabrooke shows all sides of the famous duo. From Sherwin Soames, a tall lad interested in chemistry interacting with a Scottish lad, Ian Dotson, to John Watson helping solve one of the first cases he encounters early in his friendship with Holmes. Although uneven, these stories entertain.
Even as a young lad, Sherwin Soames, Seabrook’s protagonist in “The Marzando Matter,” has the markings of the adult we know from Conan Doyle. In this story, Soames admits he has already studied thieves, pickpockets, cut-purses and the like. Soames concludes: “The human mind is capable of almost anything and once set on a path is unlikely to change it unless or until it is expedient to do so.” “The Persian Slipper” lacks strength. Why would Holmes just insert himself into a case without being asked? The client had sought out Dr. Watson. Why would Holmes suggest that he and Watson use aliases while they were at the home of the fiancé of the client’s sister? And before he knew much of the facts in the case. Why would George Spencer-Hytton (the fiancé) suddenly show marked improvement when Dr. Watson had barely begun treatment?
Somewhat better is “The Curse of Barcombe Keep.” Sherlock Holmes lets on that he believes in curses to route out the murderer. Although why the staff were so shaken by an apparent curse that affected only the members of the Northington family, owners of the house, one can only guess.
Seabrooke creates a believable pair in her rendition of Holmes and Watson. As usual, Holmes is a step or two ahead of Watson in interpreting clues and witnesses. Seabrooke’s Watson demonstrates a sense of humor. At the beginning of “The Persian Slipper,” Watson grumbles about the heat while observing Holmes watching ice slivers in separate teacups. Smoke is rising from one of the cups. After a moment, Watson says, “I say – your ice is afire. It’s so hot even the ice is burning up.” Turns out, the cup contains a sliver of dry ice. Holmes is comparing the melting of that versus real ice.
I received a free copy of Sherlock Holmes: The Persian Slipper and Other Stories by Brenda Seabrooke from reedsy.com/discovery in exchange for an honest review.
David Marcum’s prose in Sherlock Holmes and the Eye of Heka recollects the spare but effective prose of Arthur Conan Doyle. Lovers of the original canon are in for a real treat.
Dr. Watson inhabits a larger share of this adventure than in Doyle’s canon and in some modern pastiches. Watson’s marriage to a woman named Constance in this adventure precedes his marriage to Mary Marston. Watson’s marriage to Marston is indicated as Watson’s first marriage in Doyle’s writings about Holmes. Plus, new information is revealed about Watson’s interest in, and relationship with, women. Watson exhibits a range of emotions throughout this adventure, including irritation towards a woman who flirts with him shortly after the death of Constance.
In this exploit, Holmes and Watson team up with men they once thought were adversaries. The goal: to find a foot-tall statue depicting Heka, a minor African deity. This adventure involves some old friends from the ACD canon. Namely, Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade, who team up to help. The Baker Street Irregulars, Holmes’ loosely knit group of street urchins, help out in the background.
Holmes visits the various homes of the main suspects in pursuit of clues. He also requests help from several confederates and sits back like a skilled spymaster in the middle of the web he’s spun. Eventually, Holmes’ trap ensnares the guilty. But not before death comes to some of Holmes’ compatriots.
I very much enjoyed Sherlock Holmes and the Eye of Heka penned by David Marcum. Most notable is the treatment of Watson as a well-rounded character. Marcum’s other numerous writings about Holmes and Watson now inhabit a permanent place on my to-be-read list.
I received a free copy of this book from www.reedsy.com/discovery in exchange for an honest review.
From unwrapping stolen mummies to Professor Moriarty escaping in an early flying machine, these Sherlock Holmes stories by Robert V. Stapleton enchant. From Scotland to Cornwall to Berlin, Holmes and Watson deal with a mummy’s curse, smuggling and international politics.
Stapleton’s short stories in Sherlock Holmes: A Yorkshireman in Baker Street entertain for the most part. Professor Moriarty stars in an interesting affair that culminates in his making his escape in an early flying machine. (For me, this story tops the rest of the stories in the collection.) “The Whitehaven Ransom” captured my attention, too. Watson drags Holmes off on a vacation to the English Lake District. While there, the duo solve a 30-year-old local mystery. Holmes and Watson are called to Berlin to intercede with delegates attending a conference on Africa. Events go awry quickly in “The Black Hole of Berlin.” Most of the stories move along at a steady clip. Most are believable. “You Only Live Thrice,” involving voodoo, is not quite up-to-par as far as plot. In fact, I found it rather weak.
I enjoyed the voice of Dr. John Watson as he narrated these stories. Stapleton made Watson’s voice crisp, clear and convincing. Whereas, in some of the early black-and-white movies on television, Watson is portrayed as a bumbling fool. (Think Nigel Bruce to Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes.) Since Watson was a doctor, he was no fool. Nor was he stupid, even if he couldn’t match Holmes’ analytical deductions.
Stapleton’s story collection satisfies my craving for short stories and all things Holmesian. At least temporarily. Although mummies are not my thing, Moriarty and Holmes certainly are. No doubt, I will be back reading about Holmes very soon. For another post I’ve written regarding works involving Sherlock Holmes, find it here.