Tuesday, January 12, 2010
SHERLOCK HOLMES - CONSULTING DETECTIVE
Sherlock Holmes – Consulting Detective. Vol. One.
Edited by Ron Fortier
Airship 27 Productions
Cornerstone Book Publishers
Review by Philip K. Jones
This anthology consists of five new tales, each followed by an author’s commentary, and an Afterward by the editor, Ron Fortier.
The first tale, The Massachusetts Affair,” is a novella by Aaron Smith that suffers from an excess of Americanisms, both in language and in viewpoint. This is somewhat eased because most of the principal characters are American, but it is still quite noticable as it opens the book. The mechanics of the tale are difficult to accept, but the characters are believable and Holmes and Watson are relatively comfortable presences.
The second tale, “The Problem at Stamford Bridge,” is another novella, this time by Van Allen Plexico. It introduces Dr. Watson and the audience to the world of professional Soccer in late Victorian England. Unfortunately, that world shares many traits with professional sports in the 21st Century, which include felonies, player violence and professional jealousy. I suspect the same was true of the gladiators in the Roman Coliseum. Sherlock Holmes manages to adapt himself seamlessly into the milieu and comes up with the proper solutions while Dr. Watson plays his ususal ‘catch-up’ game.
The third tale, “The Adventure of the Locked Room,” is another novella, this time by Andrew Salmon. There is some confusion about the timing of this tale as it is supposed to occur after “A Study in Scarlet” but only a fortnight or so after Holmes and Watson move into the rooms in Baker St.. If the timing factor is ignored, this becomes an interesting little mystery, with a couple of neat twists. Further, the door is left open for additional complexities in future, so this is a reasonably satisfying visit to our old friends in their new abode.
The fourth tale, “The Adventure of the Tuvan Delegate,” is a long short story that involves additional Sherlockian characters, Mycroft Holmes and Professor Moriarty. Take one peace conference in London, add the Professor causing trouble, mix in Mycroft trying to keep order, Sherlock investigating an apparently unrelated event and stir well. The result is written here. This is an amusing tale, full of action and adventure, with little deduction and not much mystery.
The final tale, “Dead Man’s Manuscript,” is a novella by I. A. Watson. It contains enough mystery and exotic background for any Holmes tale as well as several well-drawn supporting cast. It is a classic mystery, with all needed clues included but obscured and it is a ‘fun’ read. Dr. Watson exhibits his better qualities, Holmes astounds his audiences and all’s right with the world, even if villains are about their business.
The “Vol. #1” designation on this book declares the publisher’s intent to follow with more of the same (or better?). A sequel may be worth looking for.
(It has always been my policy to not review books I have either written or edited in this column. Thus I wish to thank Philip Jones for the surprise and grateful offer of this review of this book. Note, should you be interested in picking up a copy of this or any other Airship 27 Prod. title, simply click on to our new Amazon store link to the right of this column; The Airship 27 Emporium.)
Posted by Ron Fortier at 10:09 AM