Paperback 268 pages
US $12.95 UK £7.95 Europe €9.95
In recent years interest in Sherlock Holmes has burgeoned due to new cinema films and television series. Unfortunately, these have distorted the beloved originals by making Holmes and Watson action-heroes, transplanting them to modern times, or both.
In print, some authors have let their imaginations run riot and Holmes has been involved with Jack the Ripper, Dracula, the Titanic, and flying saucers to name but a few. He has been placed in modern America, into the future and far into the past; we have been given his schooldays, his biography and various clones. Poor old Holmes has been mangled and distorted to provide fodder for many ludicrous yarns and unbelievable concepts.
However, some authors have sincerely attempted to imitate the authentic Conan Doyle style and many of their tales are credible and entertaining. The conventions are observed and the author who knows his job ensures that nothing anachronistic appears in his work. A sense of period is essential if the reader is to find himself comfortably at home in the late Victorian era.
The true joy of these pastiches is to imagine that Sir Arthur, once more taking up his pen, has given us a further batch of splendid Sherlock Holmes tales.
Alan Stockwell sincerely imitates the authentic Conan Doyle style. His first collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, garnering much praise from aficionados when first published in 2003, is now in its third edition. In response to many requests, Alan Stockwell now offers a collection of ten new Sherlock Holmes stories told in the authentic manner. Here you will find the dreadful ordeal of Oscar Wilde, the escape of the wild wolves, and the Surrey man-monkey among the tales. And Dr Watson at last reveals the long-hidden secret of the politician, the lighthouse, and the trained cormorant!
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TEN GREAT NEW STORIES
The Case of the Cryptic Capitals
The Ordeal of Oscar Wilde
The Surrey Man-Monkey
The Black Pearl of Rajasthan
The Demise of the Favourite Son
A Christmas Interlude
The Three Wise Monkeys
The Ancient Ring of the Prophet
The Escape of the Wolves
The Great Train Robbery
26th November 2012
We encounter Wilde again in The Singular Exploits of Mr Sherlock Holmes by Alan Stockwell. Like Mr Stockwell’s earlier collection The Singular Adventures of Mr Sherlock Holmes, these stories are firmly ‘in the traditional manner’, apart from the occasional introduction of ‘certain characters and events of the time’ – and the fact that one story, ‘A Christmas Interlude’, omits Holmes altogether. But the voice throughout is that of John H Watson (or an acceptable imitation), the setting is true to the period, and the plots are inventive. I particularly like ‘The Ancient Ring of the Prophet’, which tells the tale of the politician, the lighthouse and the trained cormorant.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Sherlock Holmes pastiches December 15th 2012
By Sherlock VINE™ VOICE Amazon Verified Purchase
Alan Stockwell has written these 10 short stories striving to emulate what Doyle himself might have written, using Dr. Watson as narrator. His style is faithful to Doyle's writing as well as his characterizations of Holmes and Watson, and evokes the era of the original Sherlock Holmes stories. For instance, Doyle often had Holmes accurately deduce things about people simply through observation, and Stockwell often follows this model giving clever and imaginative deductions. I especially appreciate that Watson is portrayed as being intelligent and Stockwell often gives him an active role in assisting Holmes. The author's stories are also often notable for their clever and imaginative surprising twists.
Here are brief notes describing the stories so you can get a general idea of the book contents.
THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CAPITALS
Miss Jellicoe and her father live in an isolated rural area. Over a two week period, they received mysterious notes containing a capital 'I' and other capital letters, and then finally a picture of a man with a bicycle extracted from a magazine. Her father became so terrified by this that he had bars placed on every window in the house and locked himself in his room, giving no explanations to anyone. His very concerned daughter looks to Holmes for help, and he and Watson attempt to decipher the mysterious messages and help Mr. Jellicoe. There are some clever twists in this story.
THE ORDEAL OF OSCAR WILDE
Wilde has a friend seek the help of Sherlock Holmes because the police suspect him of murder. He had dinner one night with a teenage boy in his London hotel room, and the boy was found murdered the following morning with Wilde gone missing. This is yet another story that has an unexpected twist.
THE SURREY MAN-MONKEY
Said man-monkey is Joe Parsloe, a performer at the Surrey theatre who dressed up in a man-ape costume and went directly into the audience doing various acrobatic feats as part of the performance. A wealthy wine merchant claimed that Parslow or his assistant stole his wife's handbag that contained an expensive diamond necklace during the show. Since there were no witnesses and the necklace was not found, it seems that the theft will be unresolved because there's not much that Holmes can do. This story has several twists and turns; just when things seem obvious and you think you've got it all figured out, something unexpected happens right through to the end.
THE DEMISE OF THE FAVORITE SON
A wealthy father of three sons dies, leaving a will that simply says "I leave everything I possess to my favorite son". Since no heir is specifically named, the two eldest brothers agree that the youngest son should inherit everything, provided his will leaves everything to the two elder brothers. The family lawyer fears that a murder is being planned, and contacts Holmes for help. The story plot is intricate and has the surprising twists and turns that Stockwell enjoys writing.
A CHRISTMAS INTERLUDE
Sherlock Holmes is not in this story. Dr. Watson spends Christmas with some old university friends in Salisbury. One of the guests is found dead of a broken neck. Is this murder or an accident?
THE THREE WISE MONKEYS
A murder occurs at the Diogenes Club, and Mycroft summons his brother Sherlock to investigate.
THE ANCIENT RING OF THE PROPHET
Arthur Conan Doyle, in his short story THE VEILED LODGER, made brief reference to the case of 'the politician, the lighthouse, and the trained cormorant'. Alan Stockwell now reveals the full story here.
THE ESCAPE OF THE WOLVES
What first appear to be relatively harmless pranks soon escalate into more dangerous and nefarious acts of violence against employees of a London circus. Owner George Sanger enlists Holmes and Watson as circus performers so they can investigate the case more effectively.
This story has a brief epilogue and I was curious to know if at least some of the strange events were actually true, so I did a web search. Sure enough, parts of this story consist of actual historical events and the end is a shocker that did actually happen in 1911.
THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY
This fictional story takes place in 1889-1990. The story is good and has Stockwell's usual surprises. As far as the Doyle Cannon is concerned, there is the omission here of not making any references to Mary Morstan, Watson's wife at that time.
Naturally, I have my favorites and think that some stories are better than others, but this is a matter of personal opinion so I hope you will read this book and enjoy it.
This book is a follow up to his excellent and much acclaimed collection of 17 short stories that is now in its Third Edition: The Singular Adventures of Mr Sherlock Holmes. I highly recommend this also, and if you're interested you can see my review posted there on April 26, 2008. It would be great to have both made available as ebooks.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, I like it as the first collection March13th 2013
By Miroslav Nydrle Amazon Verified Purchase
Second collection of Stockwell's pastiches, from better end of existing row of stories. I like it, very interesting reading for a fan.
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, but good June 6th 2013
By Darkendale (Quoth the Raven) Amazon Verified Purchase
I was seeing the same flashes of genius Stockwell had shown before. By the time I had finished The Demise of the Favourite Son I was hooked. IMHO, that story was one of the best I have ever read. A second favourite in this volume has to be The Three Wise Monkeys. . . . when murder invades even the hallowed halls of the Diogenes Club. . . . the special circumstances of the final story, The Great Train Robbery allow the book to finish strong.
Genius, like the measles, takes a little time to develop.