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The Perils of Sherlock Holmes by Loren D. Estleman
Review by Gayle Surrette
Tyrus Books Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781440564512
Date: 18 October 2013 List Price $15.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

The Perils of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of short stories, essays, and a very short play by Loren D. Estleman. All have the feel of the original Doyle stories including speech, language, and atmosphere. Holmes is in top form and Watson his trusty companion and helper. All the stories and essays were previously published except for one -- "The Serpent's Egg" is original to this collection.

The Adventure of the Arabian Knight:

Sir Richard Francis Burton comes to Holmes for help. He believes his assistant has stolen a document that he was translating. It is imperative that Burton get the document back for the document contains important information on a potential find that could make his career. There seems to be no way to prove the assistant has the document and no way he could have taken it -- will Holmes be able to help?
The Adventure of the Three Ghosts:
This was a clever story riffing on Dicken's A Christmas Carol. This will be fun for anyone who loves the stories of Sherlock Holmes and has read -- or seen movies of -- Dicken's A Christmas Carol.
The Riddle of the Golden Monkeys:
Holmes, now retired and keeping bees, has invited Watson for a visit. On Watson's arrival another guest shows up -- this guest has a problem. He must solve a riddle within a specific time frame or face dire consequences. Luckily, for him Holmes is intrigued by the riddle.
Dr. and Mrs. Watson at Home: A Comedy in One Unnatural Act:
This is a very short one act play that is a filled with references to events in Doyle's Holmes stories. Even if you're not an avid Sherlock Holmes fan you should still find the main line of the act amusing.
The Adventure of the Coughing Dentist:
Holmes and Watson travel to America to tie up some loose ends on a previous case and then travel the country a bit. Unsurprisingly, they run into a case that requires their help. An innocent man is being accused of murder and all evidence points to his guilt. Holmes' methods of detection and observation coupled with experimentation are required. Can he solve the case and identify the murderer before the lynch mob takes matters into their own hands?
The Adventure of the Greatest Gift:
Holmes is bored -- dangerously so -- when he receives a wax cylinder with a recorded message. The message is only a song but from that one clue Holmes determines that he and Watson must stop a murder that will occur that very evening. Even faithful readers who a fans of Holmes may doubt that this time he's actually got a potential case to solve.
The Devil and Sherlock Holmes:
Watson becomes a client when he notes that Holmes is again despondent and bored. Luckily, as a consultant at an asylum he has a patient who is terrorizing the staff and other patients. The problem is how to get Holmes' help since he does not care of anything that smacks of the supernatural and this patient purports to be the devil incarnate. This story just may lift the hairs on the back of your neck.
The Serpent's Egg:
This is an unfinished story which was to be the first chapter in a book where various authors would write the chapters continuing the story that had previously been written by others. Estleman had written the first chapter before the project was cancelled and he's revised it for this book. Holmes and Watson rescue a man from being beaten to death in the street. He tells them he's under a curse and lays out the details; however, Holmes is inclined to believe that issue is not supernatural in origin.
On the Significance of Boswells:
This essay was originally the introduction to Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories and has been updated for this collection. The essay stresses the importance of Dr. John H. Watson in the stories.
Was Sherlock Holmes the Shadow? (A Trifle):
An essay previously published in The Baker Street Journal in March 1982. Estleman compares the traits of Sherlock Holmes and the Shadow. An interesting idea with some merit but personally, while entertained, I'm not convinced.
A section on suggested readings for those who wish to know more about Sherlock Holmes, his time period, life, and society at the time, the chronology of Doyle's stories (publication or time of cases), this is where you'll find a book that may help you.

All in all a very entertaining selection of stories for those who long for more Sherlock Holmes stories.

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