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The Annals of Sherlock Holmes
Paul D Gilbert

Robert Hale
31 October 2012 (US 1 April 2013)/ ISBN 9780709093466
Historical Mystery / 1890s London and various other locations in England
Amazon US || uk

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Devotees of the Holmes canon will know that throughout the stories Watson often alludes to interestingly titled cases that are not expanded on. Many of these are supposed to be either too horrible or too sensitive to be subjects for stories in the Strand, but here are three for our delight.

The game’s afoot! I’ve read lots of Holmes pastiches, and this author ranks well up with the better ones. He hasn’t got the style spot on, but not too far off and manages to come up with stories that fit well into the body of work by Conan Doyle himself without any unsuitable flights of fancy. Here you can read about the Dunda’s Separation Case initially; why does the eminent Sir Balthazar Dunda’s take against his wife so suddenly and why does he keep throwing his false teeth at her? Then there is the Abernetty Mystery when Watson visits some old friends whilst on vacation, and lastly the Adventure of the Reluctant Spirit, where the detectives get to discover whether a medium is genuine or a fraud. The first story opens on Christmas Eve night amid the swirling snow, setting the scene admirably well for the sort of stories that are surely best read on a winter’s night. The final one deals with Conan Doyle’s own passion, that of spiritualism and is a fitting way to end the book. Lacking perhaps is that inimitable frisson of the utterly strange and bizarre that marks out the real Conan Doyle works, but he at least has a well- drawn Holmes and a Watson who is pretty near the mark. Taken as a whole this is an above average trio of tales that ought to please most people who enjoy these stories.

Reviewed 2013