Murder, My Dear Watson: New Tales of Sherlock Holmes Paperback – Oct 1 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Like its predecessor from the same editors, Murder in Baker Street (2001), this solid anthology offers some choice Sherlockian plums. The ubiquitous Watson often takes center stage in these 10 tales: Colin Bruce's "Adventure of the Dying Doctor" pits the good doctor and Mycroft Holmes against an improbable insurance and stock fraud scheme entailing an errant comet, while Holmes watches benignly from the sidelines. Bill Crider's "Adventure of the Young British Soldier" features a grudge-driven villain intent on poisoning Watson's former orderly, a hero from their service together in the Afghan War. Sharyn McCrumb's eerie, supernatural "The Vale of the White Horse" appeals mostly to those interested in sorcery and demonic spirits, not usually the province of Holmes and Watson. Other stories bring the legendary detective into contact with Queen Victoria, whose would-be assassins are foiled in the nick of time, and film genius D.W. Griffith, who is threatened by German spies seeking to prevent him from helping the allied war effort. Sherlock's own stage portrayer, William Gillette, solves a jewel theft case in a style worthy of his celebrated mentor in the book's highlight, Daniel Stashower's "Adventure of the Agitated Actress." Holmes devotees will welcome the three essays that conclude the volume, but others may wish the editors had supplied an additional tale or two instead.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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1. "The Adventure of the Dying Doctor" by Colin Bruce is a very humane story where Watson (surprise!) is the main character, with a cameo by James Moriarty and Mycroft Holmes.
2. "The Adventure of the Young British Soldier" by Bill Crider is another story where Watson and his erstwhile orderly Murray take centre-stage. Of course Holmes is there, sharp as ever, poetic as well.
3. "The Vale of the White Horse" by Sharyn McCrumb is a complex tale with hints of bizarre hereditary traits and the consequences. It was a brilliant story with depths that are rarely aimed at.
4. "The Adventure of the Mooning Sentry" by Jon L. Breen is a mediocre story about one of Holmes' post-retirement `missions'.
5. "The Adventure of the Rara Avis" by Carolyn Wheat is a rather sensationalistic attempt to develop the tantalizing hints left by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle regarding the affair of the Addleton-Barrow' into a story about the Maltese Falcon.
6. "The Adventure of the Agitated Actress" by Daniel Stashower is a brilliant story about white might have happened on the stage before William Gillette's play "Sherlock Holmes" opened in London.
7. "The Case of the Highland Hoax" by Anne Perry and Malachi Saxon is an improbable, wild and poor story set in the Scottish Highlands.
8. ""The Case of the Golden Monkeys" by Loren D. Estleman is an almost Wold-Newton story involving Sax Rohmer and his Fu-Manchu model.
9. "The Adventure of the Curious Canary" by Barry Day is a good retelling of "The Speckled Band".
10. "Before the Adventures" by Lenore Carroll is a brilliant story about what could have happened to Watson before the entry of Holmes in his life.
The non-fiction writings included in this book contain a plethora of information about the world of Sherlock Holmes and how a Sherlockian may enrich his knowledge in these matters. Overall, highly recommended.
P. 13: The best way to tell a lie effectively is to tell the truth badly.
P. 18: The moral, Watson, is that while life contains its hazards, it is the man who does not know how to calculate the risks who is in real danger.
P. 67: An amateur. Which means he is either a genius or a dilettante. There is no in-between in such cases.
P. 69: Swamp gas can only explain so much, sir, so much and no more.
P. 154-55: I saw the small twitch of irony catch the corner of his mouth. The next moment the face had regained its classically sculpted lines, something poised between Roman senator and an American Indian.
P. 161: He acted as though he expected to have the fatted calf killed daily on his behalf.
With a pretty decent overall story quailty, a worthwhile book for Holmes fans.
Murder My Dear Watson : 01 The Adventure of the Dying Doctor - Colin Bruce
Murder My Dear Watson : 02 The Adventure of the Young British Soldier - Bill Crider
Murder My Dear Watson : 03 The Vale of the White Horse - Sharyn McCrumb
Murder My Dear Watson : 04 The Adventure of the Mooning Sentry - Jon L. Breen
Murder My Dear Watson : 05 The Adventure of the Rara Avis - Carolyn Wheat
Murder My Dear Watson : 06 The Adventure of the Agitated Actress - Daniel Stashower
Murder My Dear Watson : 07 The Case of the Highland Hoax - Anne Perry and Malachi Saxon
Murder My Dear Watson : 08 The Riddle of the Golden Monkeys - Loren D. Estleman
Murder My Dear Watson : 09 The Adventure of the Curious Canary - Barry Day
Murder My Dear Watson : 10 Before the Adventures - Lenore Carroll
Moriarty has some comet predictions and life insurance dodges.
3 out of 5
Watson looks into helping an old army acquaintance who helped him.
3.5 out of 5
Hermaphrodite heredity case.
3 out of 5
The Birth of A Nation has Holmes involved at a screening, with a crazed killer on the loose.
3 out of 5
The brothers Holmes come across the Maltese Falcon.
4 out of 5
An early Holmes stage actor does some deduction.
3 out of 5
Holmes and Watson have a case of Killer Queen.
3.5 out of 5
Holmes and Watson meet Sax Rohmer, who has a problem of his own regarding the man upon whom he based Fu Manchu.
4 out of 5
A strange poisoning to look into.
3 out of 5
Watson's recovery after the war, and some literary insight and advice.
3.5 out of 5
Wish I hadn't wasted my time. Very, very bad stories. They just weren't good. Slim plots that were easy to bust; poorly written and not in the Victorian style at all (I like pastiches that at least ATTEMPT to sound like Watson; 90 percent of these weren't even close); and Holmes and Watson were somewhat out of character (or not even in the piece, such as Stashower's short). One of the most annoying stories used exclamation points at the end of half the sentences. That drove me freakin' insane. Exclamation points are just uncalled for, and I don't imagine Holmes and Watson shouting constantly. Very bad. The only story I liked was Estleman's, but I knew I would because I've liked his other work.
I was also annoyed because most of these are not murder stories. They involve stolen brooches, riddles and, at its most boring, insurance swindles. Silly of me to think a book entitled "Murder, My Dear Watson," would kill off a few people.
The essays at the back don't offer much either. The one on "the head and the heart" is a decent read but is available in other collections. "Sherlock on the Internet" is woefully out of date; it's a 9-year-old essay, and the Internet has changed so much that nothing in the essay is really applicable. The author rants and raves about how cool listservs are. Talk about dating yourself. The third is just a list of other Holmes pastiches.
Pass on this one. I wish I had.
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