This is a collection of three mid-length tales by the author that were originally published in severely reduced formats. I have read all three, both in the earlier versions and in these newer forms and I can understand Mr. Lovisi's frustration with the restraints imposed by editors with space limitations
The first story is "The Notorious Crosby Murders" and, in my opinion, it is the finest of the lot. It is written very much in the fashion of the better Canonical tales and it uses many of the techniques invented by Doyle. Holmes and Watson are called to investigate the murders of a woman and her two children. Actually, Inspector Lestrade wants Holmes' help in finding the husband who is the obvious suspect. Holmes examines the scene of the crime and is compelled by what he finds to invent a new investigative tool to deal with the evidence. He finds both the husband and the murderer.
In "A Study in Evil," Mrs. Hudson shows up on Dr. Watson's doorstep saying that Holmes has been arrested for murder and she asks Watson to help him. Inspector Lestrade allows Watson to visit Holmes in his cell and Holmes describes the events that resulted in the death of his client. Watson refuses to take the tale at face value and goes to the home of the victim to interview the servants who were present. After thinking over the results of his interviews, Watson returns to Holmes for an explanation. Holmes requests time and asks Watson to return the next day. Both Watson and Lestrade hear the servants' testimony and Holmes's explanation and Lestrade is compelled to cry at the tale.
"The American Adventure" begins with Dr. Joseph Bell requesting Mycroft's assistance on a personal trip to The United States in 1876. Mycroft refuses and recommends the services of his brother, Sherlock, who has just completed his University studies. After discussion, Sherlock agrees and he and Dr. Bell take ship for New York, where Bell's sister is in fear for her life at the hands of her American husband. This longer version is much more satisfying than the shorter story published in Kurland's "Sherlock Holmes: The American Years." It does, however, present a number of problems to Sherlockians who are sure of the timing of events cited in the Canon.
This book also has the advantage of good editing. I found only a few, minor errors in spelling and usage. It is quite enjoyable and "The Notorious Crosby Murders" is one of the best written pastiches I have seen. The others are also quite good and the collection is well worth its cost.
Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, January 2012