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Posted March 5, 2012
This is a collection of five, well-written novellas. It is the second collection in a series by this Publishing House and it will soon be followed by a third volume. There seems to be no overall theme set for this collection of tales, but the book does not suffer from the lack. All of the tales are readable and interesting, even entertaining. One can ask little more of a Sherlockian anthology and this one delivers quite effectively.
“The Affair of the Wretched Flesh,” by Joshua Reynolds begins with Sherlock in a characteristic ‘blue funk.’ Thankfully, Inspector Lestrade arrives before Holmes turns to the needle and the pair are off on a new adventure. This case is solved, but that is about all. The cost of the solution in lives and treasure is daunting and the villain seems to have escaped to cause more trouble.
“The Affair of the Western Mail,” by I. A. Watson calls Holmes and Watson to deal with an ‘impossible’ robbery of a payroll carried on an express train with numerous safety features in place. The case is complex and the solution finally comes through the odd actions of a ‘con’ man well known to Holmes.
“The Case of the Missing Engine,” by Bernadette Johnson, brings Holmes and Watson to Trinity College, Cambridge to look into the theft of a reconstruction of Charles Babbage’s “Analytical Engine.” The investigation is complex and the villain is not really villainous, but murder has been done and a solution is needed.
“The Last Deposit,” by I. A. Watson, is depressing. It is well thought out, but inevitably sad and depressing. The body of a murdered young woman is found in a safe deposit box at a prestigious bank, something everyone claims is impossible. Yet, there she is. The investigation is depressing and the true villain escapes justice, except, perhaps, in his dreams.
The final tale, “The adventure of the Phantom Raiders,” by Andrew Salmon, brings together two unlikely comrades. HMS Victory, rotting at anchor is paired with the RN’s newest acquisition, Submarine A1. The Eighteenth Century super weapon, the flagship of Nelson at Trafalgar is sent into battle alongside the Naval wonder weapon of the Twentieth Century, the torpedo-armed submarine.
This is an interesting book, with a nice selection of tales and locales. The circumstances and timing all seem to fit well into the Canon and the presentation of the tales is comfortable and familiar. Some readers may object to details, but most are explicable and few are crucial. In fact, there seem to be fewer errors of fact or timing than is common for a similar collection of Canonical tales.
Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, February, 2012
Posted January 26, 2010
No text was provided for this review.