The Secret Cases of Sherlock Holmes

Donald Thomas, Author
Donald Thomas, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $24 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0516-0
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-7867-0636-5
Paperback - 344 pages - 978-1-4719-0452-3
Hardcover - 310 pages - 978-1-4719-0453-0
Hardcover - 456 pages - 978-0-7089-3922-2
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Readers of a Sherlock Holmes pastiche have every right to expect a reasonable iteration of Conan Doyle's original creation, a detective whose essential humanity is cloaked in aloofness and whose superior intellect serves a passion to expose crimes. Thomas, a biographer (of Lewis Carroll and others) and novelist (The Ripper Apprentice), instead offers a smug Holmes whose ramblings through a collection of stories based on true crimes at the beginning of this century lack both clarity and credibility. The best of these tales include ""The Case of the Camden House Murder,"" in which Holmes, retained to prove the innocence of an artist charged with the Ripper-like murder of a prostitute, conducts a convincingly quirky investigation with solid examples of Holmesian deduction. In ""The Case of the Blood Royal,"" Holmes defends Queen Victoria's grandson Prince George against blackmail at the hands of Charles Augustus Howell and Prof. Moriarty in what becomes the prequel to Doyle's ""The Final Problem."" The author describes his tales as historical events, ""over which the shadow of the Great Detective is allowed to pass."" Holmes's presence in these pages is as fleeting and intangible as that shadow. (June)
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