cover image A Taste for Honey

A Taste for Honey

H.F. Heard. Penzler, $25.95 (216p) ISBN 978-1-61316-121-0

A love of honey leads Sydney Silchester, the curmudgeonly narrator of this solid entry from Heard (1889–1971) in the American Mystery Classics series, to the door of the Heregroves, the only beekeepers in the environs of the English village of Ashton Clearwater. When, some months later, Mrs. Heregrove is stung to death by a swarm of her own bees, Silchester is distressed: how will he satisfy his sweet tooth? Out for a walk, he notices a neatly written sign posted on a gate advertising surplus honey. Up the garden path he goes and meets Mr. Mycroft, whom he subsequently describes as “a very remarkable man... a little vain and fanciful and rather exhausting to be with.” Mycroft embraces him as a Watson-like companion in adventure, and the game is afoot as they investigate the bee-stinging death. At the time of its first publication in 1941, this novel was met with great rejoicing among Sherlock Holmes fans, though contemporary readers may struggle to care about Silchester and his schemes. That said, there is fun to be had in reading Silchester’s self-absorbed narration. (Mar.)