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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The right sort of pastiche
There are two sorts of Sherlock Holmes pastiche. The first is written by people who like the original stories and wish there were more of them; so they try to duplicate them, to surreptitiously insert an extra bit of short fiction into the canon. If a writer does this and no more the result will almost certainly be a failure. (This is contingent. It would be nice...
Published on 30 Mar 1999

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing
A fanciful romp through some of Sherlock's darker history. Quite clever, and well constructed, but nothing like the standard of the literary agent.
Published 2 months ago by Korhomme


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The right sort of pastiche, 30 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. (Norton Paperback) (Paperback)
There are two sorts of Sherlock Holmes pastiche. The first is written by people who like the original stories and wish there were more of them; so they try to duplicate them, to surreptitiously insert an extra bit of short fiction into the canon. If a writer does this and no more the result will almost certainly be a failure. (This is contingent. It would be nice if there were more Sherolock Holmes stories, and it would be nice if someone could practice direct mimickry; but no-one can.) Conan Doyle himself was reduced to doing this sort of thing by the 1920s, and the results were pallid.
But there is another way. The original stories, as we all know, are peppered with oddities, allusions to untold events, and, more than anything else, flat contradictions. A good pastiche will make a meal of the oddities, fill out the allusions, and, in this case, explain away the contradictions. A good pastiche does not merely augment, but also extends, what has gone before.
So consider "The Final Problem" and "The Valley of Fear". In the former story Holmes mentions - for the first time - the criminal mastermind of all London, Professor Moriarty, who in the end dies. In "The Valley of Fear" Holmes mentions Moriarty as still living, and Watson and Lestrade speak as if Holmes talks about Moriarty all the time. A contradiction right away. Moreover, one would think that "The Napoleon of Crime" would feature more prominently in Watson's tales about London's greatest detective. Moreover still, a penetrating analysis by a good friend of mine reveals the the apparently solid "The Final Problem" to be one of the most ludicrous Holmes stories in existence.
Meyer solves all this by supposing Holmes's cocaine addiction (mentioned in "The Sign of Four") generated paranoid delusions about the perfectly harmless Moriarty; which, of course, necessitates a meeting with Dr. Sigmund Freud. (I have no doubt that Freud in this novel is totally unlike the real Freud, but criticims based on this fact are misguided. Meyer's Freud is exactly the sort of man who inhabits the Sherlock Holmes universe.) Meyer's solution to Moriarty ought to be made official.
The novel suffers from a lack of real meat when Holmes gets around to detecting again, and the kind of climax which looks ahead to the film version rather than behind to the nineteenth century. But all in all, THE pastiche to read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent Sherlock tale, not written by ACD, 7 Mar 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. (Norton Paperback) (Paperback)
I highly recommend this to all Sherlockians! This is the first non-ACD Holmes story that I've ever read and found this tale, even though it showed a side of Holmes never shown by ACD, greatly captured the true-to-Holmes writing style that so many authors fail to capture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, 25 Feb 2013
One of the best pastiche's I've ever read, and takes a very different approach. In a way it re-evaluates two of the biggest titles in the canon, and it does have to be taken with a pinch of salt to not offend yourself if you are a traditional fan, but overall very interesting and enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The alternative life of mad Sherlock..., 27 May 2011
I like this alternate version of the Sherlock Holmes universe. It's not really a spoiler to say that Holmes wasn't really playing dead for those four years he was missing, or that there was never a criminal mastermind called Professor Moriarty...it's revealed in the first chapter of this book. And I guess some readers will have a problem with the concept, as it turns a lot of things on their heads, and Moriarty was a character that most people adore and wish there could've been more of...I mean, he was only in one story, and name-checked in a couple of others...all in all, it was short-lived rivalry.

But there was always the cocaine factor in the original story, and Holmes only took it when there were no cases, so why not speculate on what would have happened if there hadn't been any cases for a long, long time? Like I said, I like the approach, and the author does a pretty good job of copying Watson's writing style. In fact he makes excuses for himself at the beginning, saying he's an old man and perhaps his writing isn't what it once was...very clever from the author.

The actual case isn't as satisfying as the concept of mad Sherlock out of his mind on cocaine...it's okay, but the addition of a certain famous psychiatrist [psychologist?] is stretching things a bit. But it's fiction, so why not?
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 4 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. (Norton Paperback) (Paperback)
A fine read which purports to tell a lost tale from Watson's deathbed. As Watson is dying, a kindly nurse writes his tale as he dictates. This original beginning is the author's device for explaining away the differences in literary styles between this and an ACD read. Holmes has developed a debilitating cocaine habit which Watson wishes to break him of. Watson attempts to contrive a way to get Holmes help, but cannot think of a way to outsmart the master. Watson enjoins Mycroft to trick Holmes into traveling to Vienna under the guise of tracking Moriarty. There, Sigmund Freud helps Watson break Holmes of his cocaine habit. A mystery is of course dropping in their laps and adventure quickly ensues.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing, 25 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. (Norton Paperback) (Paperback)
A fanciful romp through some of Sherlock's darker history. Quite clever, and well constructed, but nothing like the standard of the literary agent.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, 12 April 2014
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This review is from: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. (Norton Paperback) (Paperback)
This was a gift for a family member.they say it is very good. Good for Sherlock holmes fans which I'm not!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading, 8 Feb 2013
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I've read quite a few of the Sherlock stories by other authors, and this is one of the better ones.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight. Probably my favourite SH pastiche, 11 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. (Norton Paperback) (Paperback)
Nicholas Meyer is a genius. Anyone who loves Holmes and Watson should read this pastiche. It is a superbe mixture of adventure, romance and canonical details with enough insight into the lives of the great men to bring them to life, and yet completley true to the style of the original writing.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, 22 Dec 2008
This review is from: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D. (Norton Paperback) (Paperback)
A pointless Sherlock Holmes pastiche. The plot is weak and the prose awkward. The idea of Holmes meeting Freud and being cured of his addiction is an interesting one but nothing is really done with it. The characterisation is ok but it reads like a film script, which indeed it was turned into.
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