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It's a Holmes Pastiche Party!

Happy birthday to angelinehawkes, and happy early birthday to idwoman. May you both enjoy many happy returns of the day!

Some months ago, I asked for recommendations of Sherlock Holmes pastiches and received some great replies. (Thank you!) I waited until I'd finished going through all of Arthur Conan Doyle's canonical Holmesian writings in order, but now I've embarked on my pastiche reading. I've only scratched the surface -- I have quite a long "to read" list! -- but I thought I'd list the novels I've read thus far, ranked in order from my most favorite to my least favorite. My reviews are general, and though they may contain a few spoilers about the premise of a given work, they don't give away any twist endings or key surprises.

Most Favorite Novel Thus Far:
Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson by Lyndsay Faye (2009)
Read my review.

The Last Sherlock Holmes Story by Michael Dibdin (1978)
Read my review.

The West End Horror: A Posthumous Memoir of John H. Watson, M.D. by Nicholas Meyer (1976)
Read my review.

The Seven-Percent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. by Nicholas Meyer (1974)
Read my review.

The Canary Trainer: From the Memoirs of John H. Watson by Nicholas Meyer (1993)
Read my review.

Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories by John Taylor (2010)
Read my review.

I had difficulty ranking The West End Horror and The Seven-Percent Solution, as they were rather neck-and-neck for me. I'd recommend all of these except Taylor's to fans of Holmes in general, but I'd still recommend Taylor's to those specifically who are fans of Benedict Cumberbatch.

In the novella/novelette category, I've read and thoroughly enjoyed "The Adventure of the Elusive Emeralds" (a poignant mystery with terrific Watson characterization, in particular, in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #4) and "The Adventure of the Haunted Bagpipes" (a truly chilling mystery with a very real and disturbing threat to Holmes and Watson in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #5), both by Carla Coupe (aka beledibabe). I highly recommend them. There's also a clever Lovecraft-Holmes mashup story in #5 that I'm reading right now.

My next pastiche reading probably will be The Whitechapel Horrors by Edward B. Hanna (1992).

"At first it seemed the Ripper affair had scarred my friend Sherlock Holmes as badly as it had the city of London itself."
- Lyndsay Faye, Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 2nd, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC)
I missed your original call so I didn't mention that Holmes was a character in Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October, along with Dracula, the Wolfman, Jack the Ripper etc. I need to read that book again.
May. 2nd, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you told me this! I actually got this book to read last October based on several recommendations and then promptly ran out of time, so I was saving it. Now I'll move it higher up on the pile. I didn't realize the Holmes connection. Thanks for the heads up!
May. 3rd, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
It may not be Holmes, by name, he may be called, "the great detective."
May. 3rd, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
Cool. A Holmes by any other name... ;)
(Deleted comment)
May. 2nd, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! I'd love to know what you think of them. I hope you enjoy them, too. I'll post other reviews when I've read a few more of the books from my "pastiche stack." :) Happy reading!
(Deleted comment)
May. 8th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you liked it, too! Wasn't it great? I really liked Watson and Lestrade in this, as well as Sherlock, of course.

Next I'm going to try the other Ripper-Meets-Holmes novel that's been recommended to me (The Whitechapel Horrors). *fingers crossed*
May. 3rd, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
I shall have to read Dust and Shadow! I only looked at your comments on the ones I've read, but your opinions align so closely with mine that I suspect I shall also greatly enjoy the others that you recommend.

Speaking of contemporary references, I was tickled by the G&S references in The West End Horror, and I've noticed that one occasionally hears G&S airs playing in the background (by street musicians in busy street scenes, for example) in some of the radio shows.

What we were watching the other day? Oh, yes! The Granada version of the Three Gables. When Holmes and the gossip columnist were chatting, the soundtrack was playing an instrumental version of one of the spritelier bits of "A Wand'ring Minstrel I," but the conversation was perfectly timed so that the revelation of the sad backstory came just as the tone of the music switched (at the point where Nanki-Poo would be singing, "Oh sorrow, sorrow.")

Edited at 2011-05-03 12:47 am (UTC)
May. 3rd, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
I hope you like it, too! I was quite impressed with it. It may be my favorite book read thus far this year, as a matter of fact. I really enjoyed Mary Doria Russell's new Doc, too, but the two are hard to compare.

I loved all of the Gilbert and Sullivan in The West End Horror! (Especially Shaw singing in the restaurant. LOL!) It's so fun that the Granada version used the music so cleverly, as well.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )