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The famous tin box in the attic of the house at 221B Baker Street—perhaps the best known address in crime literature—is again unlocked by the Great Detective’s loyal companion, Dr. Watson, in this collection of six original tales contrived by Donald Thomas. Crossing historical fact with inventive fiction, Thomas introduces Holmes in these stories to intriguing true-crime cases that captured headlines at the turn of the last century and to real-life clients as illustrious as Oscar Wilde and as infamous as Dr. Crippen, an errant husband condemned to death by hanging for the brutal murder and dismemberment of his wife. Among the other confounding cases are the matter of the Naked Bicyclists, whose nocturnal rides in rural Essex lead to the discovery of some grim secrets buried beneath the blackthorn trees; the file on the Hygienic Husband, in which a bathtub proves to be the crucial clue in rescuing a young woman from a devious bigamist; and the case of the Talking Corpse, wherein horror leaps from the shadows in the Lambeth slums and assumes the shape of one Dr. Thomas Neill Cream—a villain who, in Holmes’s estimation, may surpass even Professor Moriarty in the degree of his human depravity.
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A dramatic improvement over British author Thomas's first collection of Holmes pastiches, The Secret Cases of Sherlock Holmes (1998), this second story compendium continues to feature the great detective investigating true-life crimes. Most of these will be obscure to American readers, except for a couple of abortive cases involving Oscar Wilde and the notorious Dr. Crippen, who appear briefly in the volume's weakest offering, "The Two `Failures' of Sherlock Holmes." Since The Secret Cases, the author has gained a mastery of Watson's narrative voice, while his excellent recreation of the verbal give-and-take between Holmes and Watson helps render their long friendship plausible. Holmes makes brilliant deductions and engages in a number of cunning ruses to flush out his quarry. Thomas leavens the overall seriousness of these problems with an element of playfulness often overlooked by other Doyle imitators. "The Case of the Naked Bicyclists" and the title story are especially fine, with creepy atmospherics and unpredictable plot twists. In the latter, Watson witnesses the agonizing effect of poison on a prostitute. Deeply affected by the tragedy, the good doctor becomes an active participant in an inquiry into several more deaths and a blackmailer's bizarre efforts to pin them on prominent Londoners. The fidelity with which Thomas portrays two of literature's most beloved characters puts him among the leaders in the crowded Holmes pastiche field.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.From Booklist:
Thomas offers six more stories from the tin box that contained The Secret Cases of Sherlock Holmes (1998). Like their predecessors, the six reveal Holmes' work on some of the true-crime cases that captivated late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century England. Freely mingling historical fact and creative fiction, Thomas has Holmes and Watson investigating the outrageous debauchery of the naked bicyclists of rural Essex, which led to a young woman's disappearance; the sporting major accused of killing a student during an ill-fated hunting trip; and a voice from beyond the grave in the wonderfully named title story. Nothing, it seems, is too challenging for Holmes' deductive powers, and a large part of the reader's fun comes from watching poor Watson's attempts to figure out, let alone keep pace with, the course of Holmes' inquiry. Sherlockians old and new should relish the wit and elegance of Thomas' contrivances. Whitney Scott
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Book Description Carroll & Graf, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110786713259
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