A SHERLOCK HOLMES "WHODUNIT"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a great originator and his plots covered many crimes. However, he never wrote a "whodunit" murder mystery. The golden age for the kind of story which has a final chapter with all the suspects in the library awaiting the revelation of the guilty party came after Doyle's death. We usually look to Dame Agatha Christie for that sort of fiction rather than Doyle.
Alan Stockwell the author of The Singular Adventures of Mr Sherlock Holmes now not only brings you a "whodunit" starring the great detective but also includes in the book a novel
MURDER MYSTERY ACTING VERSION
This new Sherlock Holmes pastiche is presented in a book of imaginatively novel structure. First. there is a short self-contained Holmes Adventure — as it were, a taster, Buy-One-Get-One-Free. Then follows the title mystery in text form, the book ending with a dramatized version of it.
As in his previous volumes, Alan Stockwell gets close to the authentic Watsonian narrative style, and the reader is transported convincingly back into the ambience of the (here) Edwardian era. The story introduces a very ingenious basic idea, whereby the latest technology of the age conspires to produce a crime unique in the annals of malefaction. The tale is strongly plotted, and all the loose ends of the suitably tangled skein are neatly teased out and tied together at the end, with a satisfying profusion of false trails along the way. The whole is seasoned with some sly touches of humour — not to mention the odd pawky pun.
The inspired concept of setting the principal action entirely in the concert hall of the Baker Street Chamber Music Society greatly facilitates its translation into dramatic form, the audience at the play becoming the audience in the concert hall. To paraphrase a closing remark by Holmes, the demonstration of method in the one case, and the murder in the other, were both effected by means which “would have been impossible just a few years ago”. If this intriguing fact does not make you yearn to read the book, then it jolly well should!
The Sherlock Holmes Society of London Journal Winter 2010
AS WELL AS THE CONVENTIONAL TEXT STORY the MURDER MYSTERY ACTING VERSION is printed as an appendix to the book. It takes the form of a play with a cast of suspicious persons all with a motive for killing Signor Salvato the Gloved Pianist. However, the novelty of the play is that the audience is an integral part of the proceedings and the action takes place among them rather than upon a stage.
The story of the Gloved Pianist is intriguing and unusual. We see Holmes and Watson attending a concert given by Signor Salvato at the Baker Street Chamber Music Society. The virtuoso pianist who plays in white gloves has barely played a note when he collapses dead to the floor. The Society is indeed fortunate that the ace detective is on the spot to solve the heinous crime.
". . so we came to the dinner interval with four suspects to consider. Members of the cast chatted amicably with the audience. I noted that Mr Shawcross [the steel magnate] was keen to name somebody else as the culprit. There was no unaminity of verdict at our table - for any one of these doubtful characters could have done the dreadful deed. All was revealed by Sherlock Holmes in a tour de force of deductive powers which comprised a brief second act.
Thus ended a most enjoyable evening. In an excellent piece of dinner theatre Mr Stockwell has provided . . . an intriguing drama with strong period characterisation. The format was such that . . . it may readily be staged by any small company."
Review in The Sherlock Holmes Journal SUMMER 2008
PLEASE NOTE The play may be performed free of all fees and royalties but prior permission should be sought from the publisher via the CONTACT PAGE.
and the Singular Adventure of the
Paperback 140 pages
USA $6.95 UK £4.95 EUROPE € 5.95