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A Sherlockian Quartet

A Sherlockian Quartet

5.0 1
by Rick Boyer, Pat Roberts (Editor), Susan Parker (Editor)

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aBOOKS Distributing
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6.05(w) x 9.05(h) x 0.80(d)

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A Sherlockian Quartet 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Ausonius More than 1 year ago
I like four or five Sherlock Holmes yarns very much. The rest I could do without. By those admittedly low personal standards, Rick Boyer's 1999 A SHERLOCKIAN QUARTET comes across to me as genuinely Holmesian. ***** -- The reprint of 1976's novel, THE GIANT RAT OF SUMATRA is by far the longest of the QUARTET's four Holmes pastiches. As have others, author Rick Boyer expands upon a few words in Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire: "... Watson, it was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared." ***** Boyer also uses THE GIANT RAT to continue Doyle's great THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES. BASKERVILLE's villain, Jack Stapleton, had survived the pitfalls of the moors and now burns for vengeance against Holmes. As he had once trained a large but gentle hound, perverting it into a raving man-killer, so Stapleton now does the same with an herbiverous Sumatran tapir. Soon enough Holmes senses that his old foe Stapleton is alive and well and casting his gauntlet at the great consulting detective's feet. ***** The rest of the QUARTET is made up of three shorter tales published for the first time: ***** -- Easily the slightest and ranking in quality with the bottom five percent of genuine Holmes' tales is "The Adventure of Zolnay, the Aerialist." Historical John Merrick, the deformed London "elephant man," becomes a pawn in a jealous circus performer's murder of a lovely trapeze artist who had ditched him. A bit ham-handed. ***** -- Much better and full of both good clues and red herrings is "The Adventure of Bell Rock Light." Holmes and Watson vacation in northeastern Scotland near Aberdeen. Fans of Sir Walter Scott and of Robert Louis Stevenson (the latter's ancestor built Bell Rock and other lighthouses) will not mind the didactic treatment of the men who managed light houses, especially famed Bell Rock Lighthouse built far from shore in the Firth of Tay. High up in that isolated tower a mysterious death occurs. If it was murder, it had to be by a non-human, as Holmes and Watson with enormous difficulty determine. A Chinese print sets Holmes's giant brain to work. ***** -- "The Adventure of the Eyrie Cliff" is set on the southeastern coast of England during World War I, in the spring of 1917. Germany has resumed full scale submarine warfare against neutral vessels and America will soon enter the war. Aging Sherlock Holmes, his high-ranking older brother Mycroft and Doctor Watson do battle with a German U-boat as it attempts to smuggle out a kidnapped young English genius who knows how to foil the Kaiser's new maritime strategy. Holmes's wartime duties entitle him to a fast motor cycle with sidecar, which terrifies Watson when a passenger. ***** COMMENT: had Sir Arthur Conan Doyle kept cranking out Holmes and Watson adventures, they might well have read much like A SHERLOCKIAN QUARTET. Paying more attention to modern readers demands to be active partners in unraveling puzzle, Rick Boyers is generally fairer than Doyle in giving good clues before rather than after the great Holmes deconstructs his mental processes. This book grows on you. Buried treasure for Holmesians! -OOO-