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The West End Horror: A Posthumous Memoir of John H. Watson, M.D. [Paperback]

N Meyer
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £11.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

23 Jan 2013
"As authentically, irresistibly gripping as anything Conan Doyle ever wrote. . . . Don't miss it."? Cosmopolitan March 1895. London. A month of strange happenings in the West End. First there is the bizarre murder of theater critic Jonathan McCarthy. Then the lawsuit against the Marquess of Queensberry for libel; the public is scandalized. Next, the ingenue at the Savoy is discovered with her throat slashed. And a police surgeon disappears, taking two corpses with him. Some of the theater district's most fashionable and creative luminaries have been involved: a penniless stage critic and writer named Bernard Shaw; Ellen Terry, the gifted and beautiful actress; a suspicious box office clerk named Bram Stoker; an aging matinee idol, Henry Irving; an unscrupulous publisher calling himself Frank Harris; and a controversial wit by the name of Oscar Wilde. Scotland Yard is mystified by what appear to be unrelated cases, but to Sherlock Holmes the matter is elementary: a maniac is on the loose. His name is Jack.

Frequently Bought Together

The West End Horror: A Posthumous Memoir of John H. Watson, M.D. + The Canary Trainer: From the Memoirs of John H. Watson + The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. (Norton Paperback)
Price For All Three: £33.63

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Product details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co.; Reprinted edition edition (23 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393311538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393311532
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.2 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 828,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Ingenious and persuasive. "

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
All theatrical London gossiped and speculated about the murder of Jonathan McCarthy when news of it first appeared in the papers. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very pleasing addition to Watson's memoirs 23 April 2008
Reading the blurb on the back cover of this book can make you think that this book is going to be about Jack The Ripper. That was my first thought and my heart sank as I felt that this idea had already been done to death. However that is not what the story is about at all.

Instead what you get is a very engaging story that is very much in the style of Doyle's original writings. This is hard to achieve (and has eluded many other pastiche writers) but Meyer achieves it admirably.

The only reason I have not given five stars is that I feel that Meyer depicts Holmes as slightly too emotional at times. However it is a minor criticism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most engaging Holmesian pastiches 22 Jun 2007
This is one of the most engaging Holmesian pastiches and far more respectful of the "canon" than the author's earlier Seven Percent Solution. Holmes and Watson encounter a gallery of 19th Century figures in a genuinely suspenseful mystery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The West End Horror 5 Jun 2012
By Rich
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are drawn by a famous playwright into the murder investigation of a less than popular West End theatre critic.

The second in Nicholas Meyer's series. More enjoyable than 'The Seven Per-Cent Solution' I think, Meyer takes things a bit more seriously this time. You might kick yourself when you discover the solution to the mystery, it seems obvious when you know, however it does provide the book with a suitably grim end which doesn't trivialise what has taken place. Characterisation is decent and all in all, this was a decent, if very short, read.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meyer's Holmes: the best of the best. 31 July 2000
By John S. Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Brilliantly done. I've been reading Doyle's Holmes stories for nearly thirty years; I read Meyer's _The West End Horror_ when it was new and I still have my original copy. I've also read some of the other attempts to bring Holmes to life again in full-length novels, and in my own view Meyer is the only one who nails it.

He had come out of the gate hard with _The Seven Per Cent Solution_ (of which I also still have my original copy). With a tough act to follow, he meets the same standards in the present volume.

Without giving away details, I can tell you only that the case involves a pair of grisly murders on London's West End. Holmes is brought into the matter by a friend whose name I will not divulge -- a certain then-unknown Irish playwright who resembles a giant leprechaun, detests Shakespeare, and far from recompensing Holmes for his services, has an annoying habit of allowing the detective to buy him dinner.

The resulting adventure takes Holmes and Watson all over the theater district, where they meet with a number of well-known personages whose presence explains why this case has never seen the light of day before: it would simply have been impossible for Watson to follow his usual practice of disguising this cast of characters for publication. ("I shall change the names," Watson tentatively suggests in seeking Holmes's permission to commit the tale to print. "That is precisely what you cannot do," Holmes rejoins. The details of this exchange may be found in the volume's introduction.)

Meyer handles the entire project with wit and panache, remaining loyal to the Holmesian oeuvre and even improving on Doyle's own treatment of his memorable characters. All in all, a very impressive work that will delight fans of the original Holmes stories. It can be read quite independently of _The Seven Per Cent Solution_, by the way, though that one is highly recommended too. (I was less impressed with _The Canary Trainer_.)

[P.S. Most of you probably already know this, but just in case somebody doesn't: Yes, this is the very same Nicholas Meyer who directed the best of the _Star Trek_ movies. You'll find a bit of Holmes homage in _Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country_, which Meyer helped to script. Spock even quotes Holmes's dictum that "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth" -- attributing it to one of his "ancestors."]
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slight let-down 11 July 2001
By DCB4W - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel is somewhat anti-climactic. (Not just because it's a Holmes novel, which generally means 80% of the story is investigative dead ends, followed by 2% Holmes having a brainstorm and throwing Watson into a cab, leading to 10% villain's confession, ending with 8% denouement.) Having read Meyer's first Holmes homage, "The Seven Percent Solution," I was hoping for another effort of similar quality. "The West End Horror" does not quite live up to such lofty expectations. Clearly, it is well-written, capturing (and possibly improving on) the flavor of the original Doyle stories, and it is only by comparison to Meyer's brilliant first book that this one seems to struggle. Unfortunately, Meyer just tried too hard with this one to be clever. The "famous people" cameo in "Seven Percent Solution" made perfect sense. Sigmund Freud is a character because he was the most logical person for Watson to seek out, given that situation; he needed a medical consultation in the field in which Dr. Freud first made his reputation before the whole psychoanalysis fad took off. In "The West End Horror," however, the same trick is overdone, making the entire plot seem excessively like a gimmick. Oscar Wilde drops in and interacts with George Bernard Shaw, Bram Stoker reluctantly introduces Holmes to Henry Irving, and Gilbert and Sullivan are on hand to be interviewed about a murder victim. It's a little bit like the beginning of "Titanic," where Rose brings some paintings by Picasso aboard the doomed ship, wondering aloud if one day they'll ever be worth anything. In the hands of a lesser writer this would be a recipe for disaster; Meyer being an excellent writer, it's still a four-star novel. Still, the plot would have worked just as well, and possibly better, had the theater critic been named Bob, the famous actor Fred, the comic opera tandem Frank and Joe, and the gloomy novelist Aloysius, instead of throwing the famous personages into the mix and allowing the readers to become distracted by such unhelpful musings as "Is Meyer suggesting that Bram Stoker and Henry Irving are lovers?" (A: Probably not, but when Oscar Wilde tells Holmes that Irving is possessive of Stoker's time, one does wonder.) Freud's appearance added to the first book. The appearance of the entire membership of "Who's Who in London Theater, 1895 Edition" detracts from this one.
As a postscript, although the story does begin with a stabbing death in London, and although the synopsis on the book cover does point out that the killer is nicknamed "Jack," readers should be aware that this is NOT a Jack the Ripper novel.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gotta love Sherlock! 5 Dec 2002
By Sarah, Junior High Student - Published on Amazon.com
I've read The West End Horror 3 times and absolutely love it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes Sherlock Holmes and I think Nicholas Meyer writes even better than Conan Doyle! I used part of the solution as an example in a project I did recently on the... well if I give you the topic, I'll also give you the solution to the mystery so I won't spoil it.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a nice read 28 July 2004
By William Ekhardt - Published on Amazon.com
While shorter than Meyer's First Holmes Pastiche (The Seven Per Cent Solution), the West End Horrors is a much better book. Meyer still uses real figures (Oscar Wilde, Bernard Shaw, and Bram Stoker etc), which is silly and seems like a poor attempt at making Holmes less fiction and more reality. And while this volume doesn't have any action sequences like "Seven Per Cent", it is an excellent mystery that puzzles the reader until it builds to an intriguing and believable climax.

One thing that the buyer should take note of is that this is not "The White Chapel Horrors" (Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper) as many reviews have confused the two.

The West End Horrors is a really well-written Holmes Pastiche. I am looking forward to reading Meyer's Latest Holmes offering, the Canary Trainer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book now if you love Holmes! 29 July 2011
By Strider the Ranger CF - Published on Amazon.com
Meyer is an amazing writer, that's all there is to it! I just got this book, after reading several positive reviews here on Amazon. I was even more pleased to discover how brilliantly this book is written. What a joy it is to see Holmes and Watson brought to life again, so fresh yet familiar: exactly the characters so known and loved. This book distills all the best of the Holmes culture. Holmes is exactly as I know him to be from the original works as well as Rathbone performances. Watson as well. Victorian London is rich and realistic. It feels as if you are there yet not back in time, which sounds impossible. Famous characters such as George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Henry Irving and Gilbert & Sullivan vibrantly flower the story. It is exciting and well paced, never boring or slow. This is my first Holmes sequel as well as first Nicholas Meyer book. I plan to read more of his books as soon as I finish this!
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