The Sherlock Holmes Adventureby Regis McCafferty
"Pitt--Inspector MacLeish paid me a visit this evening to discuss the particulars of a murder that occurred at Coldfall Lodge, Tetherdown. Mr. Artimus Weatherill was brutally murdered and property taken, including a fair amount in sovereigns. There
He turned up the light, filled and lit a pipe, and then turned to the note from Sherlock Holmes. It read:
"Pitt--Inspector MacLeish paid me a visit this evening to discuss the particulars of a murder that occurred at Coldfall Lodge, Tetherdown. Mr. Artimus Weatherill was brutally murdered and property taken, including a fair amount in sovereigns. There are some particulars regarding this event that puzzle MacLeish and since I am returning to Glasgow in the morning to testify in the Seamus Walsh affair, I took the liberty of telling the Inspector you would look into it in my absence. If your appointments will give you the morning, MacLeish will be at Coldfell Lodge at seven o'clock. Best regards, Holmes"
Enter Joshua Pitt, inquiry agent, chess playing opponent of Dr. Watson, and one-time Baker Street Irregular who has set up shop little more than a block away on Baker Street. A young man in his late twenties, he is rarely without a smoking pipe at hand, a good blend of tobacco, and prefers strong Assam tea and Highland whiskey. His cases are as much adventure as mystery, and the reader is invited along for the ride, in a hansom, of course.
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SHERLOCK Holmes pastiches, parodies, and 'apocryphal additions', have been around nearly as long as the Great Detective, the first one appearing as early as 1893 (The Adventure of the Two Collaborators, by Sir James M. Barrie). What we have here, however, is something new, which can only be termed a Sherlock Holmes 'spin-off'. The protagonist is a former member of the Baker Street Irregulars, a band of ragged street children (something which nineteenth century London had an abundance of) that acted as auxiliaries to Holmes in his two earliest cases, asking questions and watching, in places where an adult would immediately arouse suspicion. After a short career as a sailor, he has established himself as a private enquiry agent on Baker Street, not far from his one-time employer, with whom (and Dr Watson) he maintains friendly relations.
This book is not for the Sherlock Holmes glutton, nurtured on the exaggerated extravagances of popular publishers and Hollywood; like those who eat largely and indiscriminately, their palate will not be able to appreciate the refined, subtle flavours here. Rather, this is a book for the Holmes gourmet, with a keen sense of atmosphere.
These short stories are extremely enjoyable, and exceptionally well-written. The writer has a fine sense of the period, and a solid, Western understanding of the fundamental incompatibility of Law and Justice. Highly recommended.
The Sherlock Holmes Adventure contains six tales featuring the detective, Joshua Pitt. Like Holmes, Pitt uses his wits, rather than his fists, to slove cases, though he does get physical in one story. The author does a magnificient job of capturing the atmosphere of Victorian England. Characters from all walks of life, cabbies, nobles, prostitutes, innkeepers, inspectors from Scotland Yard, all realistically parade through the pages & the ways the different classes speak is a delight to read. The tales are clever, well plotted, & psychologically interesting. Pitt has a fondness for attractive women & in The Kendal Affair, he deals gallantly with the modern issue of spouse abuse. & he also plays chess with Dr. Watson! A highly enjoyable collection of stories.