Book Review: The Perils of Sherlock Holmes, by Loren D. Estelman

The Perils of Sherlock HolmesLoren D. Estelman is a respected and well known figure in the world of Sherlock Holmes in this modern era. His Sherlock Holmes vs Dracula book is nary out of print and he is a key member in the Baker Street Irregulars (BSI).

In The Perils of Sherlock Holmes, Estelman brings together a collection described as probably the first collection of short stories in the original style and timeline since ACD himself. The book is in effect a collection of previously published stories augmented by a new piece and an essay from 1982 speculating on whether The Shadow is indeed Sherlock Holmes. In order to understand the context of the essay you need to remember that the BSI treat Holmes (and the Canon’s various characters) as having existed for real. A pseudo-fantasy of sorts, imagining a Victorian London that really was as described by ACD.

This collection is authorised by the Conan Doyle estate, giving an air of credence to the works herein. It is absolutely written in the classic style and you would be hard pressed to separate the stories in style and prose from A Study in Scarlet et al.

It is not a long collection, and does contain some quality. “On the Significance of Boswells” and “The Riddle of Golden Monkeys” are two particular stand outs. It is likely really avid fans of the pastiches of Holmes have come across one or two of these stories in the past as they are in the main a collection of works previously published in other collections across the years. I’ve certainly came across a few in my time.

Unfortunately, there are some pieces which could be regarded as self indulgent. The Christmas Carol themed story (a double pastiche if you like) doesn’t get resolved satisfactorily and the play, “Dr. & Mrs. Watson at Home” just didn’t work for me.

I was quite excited about this book but felt a bit let down by the reprinting of old stories (some from the 1970s) and the only real original story being a chapter written for a long since abandoned, multi-author, project.



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