Shadows of Sherlock Holmes
Type of material: Softcover book
Author: edited by David Stuart Davies
Review: Having published excellent cheap paperbacks of the complete Sherlock Holmes Canon (as well as The Lost World, The White Company and Sir Nigel), Wordsworth Editions have just issued a splendid volume of Victorian and Edwardian detective stories by writers other than Conan Doyle.
Shadows of Sherlock Holmes, edited by the ubiquitous David Stuart Davies, begins appropriately with The Purloined Letter, the best of Poe’s tales of C. Auguste Dupin - which had such a profound influence on the creation of Sherlock Holmes - and concludes with Baroness Orczy’s roguish lawyer-detective Patrick Mulligan in The Great Pearl Mystery. The stories include Bret Harte’s devastating Holmesian parody The Stolen Cigar Case; one of the best of Ernest Bramah’s tales of the blind detective Max Carrados; an unexpected detective story by Anton Chekhov; a Raffles adventure by Conan Doyle’s brother-in-law E.W. Hornung; an ingenious case for Prof. Van Dusen, by Jacques Futrelle (not one of those included in The Thinking Machine: Jacques Futrelle by Freddie Seymour & Bettina Kyper); a rare story of Malcolm Sage, by Herbert Jenkins; an early and anonymous Sexton Blake - and ten more, all well-chosen. There are only two stories shared with Hugh Greene’s classic (and now out of print) series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes: Guy Boothby’s The Duchess of Wiltshire’s Diamond’s, and The Absent-Minded Coterie, Robert Barr’s brilliant account of an unprovable crime.
The editor’s introduction is both entertaining and informative; the production is up to Wordsworth’s usual high standards (though I spotted a few minor typos); the cover reproduces a lovely painting called Whose Traces in the Snow? by an artist unknown to me, Carl Kronberger; and this 380-page paperback is priced at just £1.00! Buy several copies - stock up for Christmas and birthday presents!
Reviewed by: Roger Johnson, [District Messenger, 179, 1998]