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Customer Review

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and a Quick read too, 1 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Sherlock Holmes and the Flying Zombie Death Monkeys (Paperback)
They say never judge a book by a cover, and I was certainly wary of this one, thinking that it might make a good shelf-filler but little more.
I'm happy to report that this is in fact a very well written pastiche of Sherlock Holmes, with a laugh on every page & the authentic feel of the real thing.

The central plot is based (somewhat obviously) around 'Flying Zombie Death Monkeys' (who act like conventional Zombies only they transmogrify their victims into creatures like themselves). In the title story, the monkeys take over first the House of Lords & then all Parliament, making them rulers of the UK (after which the notoriously biased media produce headlines such as "Our wonderful chimp rulers wisely eat 15 in Catford. A nation rejoices!")

Naturally, Holmes discovers the evil genius behind the monkeys, but is unable to get rid of the Zombie monkeys. They then proceed to crop up throughout the other stories in the book, like some minor subplot of a normal Holmes story with the ironic exception that they normally slaughter most of the charactors bar Holmes & Watson!

Aside from the first story & main theme, there are also three other stories, which are:

'A Scandal in Burnley' - A story involving a chubby member of the Bavarian royal family who is bothered by a scandalous mistress (all the while oblivious to the apocalyptic Flying monkeys slaying of random people!),
'The Pain of the Pianoforted Parts' - A prodigious talent (who can play the piano with his nuts) is brought to an untimely demise...
& 'The Mystery of the Speckled Wang' - Holmes unmasks the man behind the monkeys.

Within each story, there are also seemingly appropriate pictures, with ironic captions (e.g. a picture of Holmes in the lab, holding a pipette, with the caption "For God's sake, Holmes, just use the teabags like anybody else!"

And the best thing about the book is the narration of Watson himself. Full of tongue-in-cheek asides at the expense of Holmes (in contrast to the originals), there are also comments to keep readers on their toes, such as "Holmes helped himself to a plate of tea & a cup of cake" & "Surprisingly, we found ourselves able to return to London within a single sentence."

Overall, I was very impressed & found the jokes to be balanced, easy on the eye & never too strained. It should also be added that the whole book took me less than 3 hours (and I'm a slow reader), so it's ideal for an alternative to a night's TV.
I'd even go so far to say that these 4 stories should be added to the pantheon of Conan Doyle's originals, just as Devil May Care was added to the James Bond canon.
Such new blood would freshen up an old franchise & might even make Robert Downey Jnr appreciate Gervais' humour more...
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