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.