Sunday, December 14, 2014

John and Mary and Sherlock and Nick

"The Adventure of the Plated Spoon."
By Loren D. Estleman.
First appearance: The Adventure of the Plated Spoon and Other Tales of Sherlock Holmes (2014), pages 199-270.
For sale HERE.
READERS WHO ARE unfamiliar with the chronicles involving my friend, Sherlock Holmes, may not assign much weight to an appalling tale cast with unspeakable villains, all centred upon so homely an item as a table utensil; yet I ask them to be patient until I have presented all the evidence.  . . .
. . . “A spoon?” said I. No, Watson,” said he. “A key. The one that unlocks the secret to this whole affair.”
Sections: "I Misplace My Wife"; "At Scotland Yard"; "I Become Holmes's Client"; "Mr. Lysander P. Gristle"; "The Ordeal of Mrs. John H. Watson"; "A Plot Unfolds"; "The Tale of the Spoon"; "A Woman’s Will"; "A Triple Scoop of Detection"; "Snipe's Flight"; "The Society of the Spoon"; "The Leopards Change Their Spots"; "The Chilton Affair"; "Mr. Nick Carter"; "The Foreign Quarter"; "Oliver Nicholas, Esq."; "A Thorn by Any Other Name"; "We Flush Our Game"; "Lady Judas"; "Flight"; "A Race with Death"; "We Retire the Spoon".

Major characters: Holmes, Watson (narrator), Mrs. Watson, Inspector Tobias Gregson, Inspector Lestrade, Lysander P. Gristle, Snipe, Constable Holcomb, the Anstruthers, Sherrinford, Sacker, James Harvey Chilton, Jane Chilton, Nick Carter, Emma, Gloriana.

The setting: England, the spring and summer of 1897. The high points: Watson's lovely wife Mary runs afoul of a white slavery ring, exciting both his anger and outrage that such things should actually exist in modern society. Holmes is very soon involved in the case, but the ring leader and his accomplice manage to elude them. When an aristocrat's daughter goes missing, Holmes and Watson team up with an American detective, the legendary Nick Carter, and set a trap that will, but for the timely intervention of a fourth team member, nearly prove fatal. Verdict: Considering who's on the case, there isn't as much detection as there could be, but as a Sherlock Holmes adventure it isn't bad at all.

A few quotes:
"I don’t judge a man by the colour of his skin, but by the darkness of his soul.
"I never accept absolutes when they are applied to me."
"Pray, Watson, write this one up. No man can live up to the paragon you’ve made me out to be."
"There’s an argument to be made in favour of allowing one or two known dens of iniquity to remain open, so that justice always has a place to fish."
"He was like a horse with the bit in its teeth and no place to gallop, and I knew all too well where that might lead. It was ironic, then, that the most foul of all the foes we’d ever opposed should be the one to rescue him from the lure of the needle."
" 'Stuff and nonsense!' said I, for I could take no more. 'Women don’t disappear from locked rooms'."
" 'Intuition.' Holmes shook his head. 'It is the X factor in every equation where a woman is involved. No man has cracked it as yet'."
Contents:
Introduction — "Always Holmes"
(1) "The Adventure of the Two Collaborators" by J. M. Barrie (from The Sherlock Holmes Compendium[Online HERE].
(2) "The Surgeon's Kit" by Ellery Queen (excerpt from A Study in Terror) [Online HERE].
(3) "The Adventure of the Dying Ship" by Edward D. Hoch (from The Confidential Casebook of Sherlock Holmes) [Online HERE].
(4) Excerpt from The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer [Online HERE].
(5) "How Watson Learned the Trick" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (from Sherlock Holmes; The Published Apocrypha) [Online HERE].
(6) "Two Shabby Figures" by Laurie R. King (excerpt from The Beekeeper's Apprentice).
(7) "The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet" by Vincent Starrett (from The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes[Online HERE].
(8) "The Adventure of the Red Widow" by Adrian Conan Doyle (from The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes[Online HERE].
(9) "The Mysterious Case of the Urn of ASH; or, What Would Sherlock Do?" by Deborah Morgan (original publication).
(10) "The Adventure of the Deadly Interlude" by James O'Keefe (original publication).
(11) "The Adventure of the Rounded Ocelot" by Larry D. Sweazy (original publication).
(12) "The Adventure of the Plated Spoon" by Loren D. Estleman (original publication).
Resources:
- Another collection of Loren Estleman's Sherlock pastiches, The Perils of Sherlock Holmes (2013), is on sale HERE.
- Recent reviews of a few Holmes pastiches by other hands are HERE, HERE, and HERE.
- A massive website devoted to Sherlockian pastiche characters is HERE.
- A related review is HERE.

Category: Sherlock Holmes pastiches

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