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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 29 August 2012
While the subtitle of this is 'The beginnings of the most famous friendship ever recorded' it is in fact a complete biography cum chronology of their entire lives, to my mind it hovers on a line between being a biography and an extremely long essay, possibly the essay effect is caused by the copious footnotes detailing historical facts and working out how Holmes and Watson would fit into them and who in real life their more famous clients would have been.

I really was hoping when I bought this book it would be a detailed fictional account of the first few months of life at 221B, a skipped over and intriguing period of time, what would Watson have thought of the assorted and bizarre characters that were shown into the flat, Watson retiring upstairs to give privacy but not knowing what Holmes did? What decided him he could put up with midnight violins and indoor target practice? While all of Holmes and Watson's character traits are touched on there isn't the depth I was hoping for. The author does, after all, also write Holmes pastiche stories like Secret Notebooks of Sherlock Holmes, The but this is more a recounting of the dates of life events and cases with speculation about their motivations for certain actions and how they would have felt about events. Perhaps it's just that a biography of a fictional character seems pointless but I wasn't really gripped by any of it.

I'm a long time Sherlock fan, I first read the stories 15 years ago and have re-read them repeatedly, I've even had a bash at trying to make some sense of the dates given for the 'adventures' so I'm well aware that it is difficult-to-impossible to get any true sense out of the printed timeline [one is even dated in the middle of the 'hiatus' when Holmes is presumed dead], this book works on what I've dubbed the 'typo school of chronology', if a date doesn't fit in it's either Watson or the printer's making a mistake with the text. The author is hardly the first to try to put the cases in order and she does frequently reference the works of others used to put the book together although some of the dates have been moved to fit the author's own theories. It's well researched [although the mention of 'mainlining' 10% solution of cocaine jarred rather, 7% solution is what's in the book, there is even a Holmes pastiche titled '7 Per-Cent Solution' it's not a hard fact to know] and well written if a little dry in tone. Not bad but it wasn't what I was hoping for which I fear has left me less than keen on it.
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on 17 August 2012
This is the first of June Thomson's pastiches I've read, though it isn't the first in the series but I assume they, like this, are an attempt at creating complete stories to go with those intriguing mentions of other cases made in Conan Doyle's original stories.

These stories are supposedly published from Watson's recovered, unpublished notes. The setting and language are very true to the original, the cases themselves are based on odd lines e.g. 'the singular affair of the aluminium crutch' is a line from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. While I didn't have any difficulty believing these cases were things Holmes /might/ have investigated they overall seemed a little *prosaic*, smash and grab thieves, insurance fraud etc., I could quite imagine these as the cases Watson recorded and then decided weren't quite /exciting/ enough to publish rather than too racy as suggested in the original. Perhaps the earlier books in the series are better and the author had run low on idea by this one? It's not a bad book at all, I have made the stories sound boring, which they aren't, they just aren't as bizarre and twisted as Conan Doyle's works.

What I don't like about them is the reams of footnotes, supposedly added by the inheritor of Watson's dispatch box of notes, that seem to be there merely to prove that the author has seriously read and researched the original, and which assume the reader either hasn't read them or has forgotten almost every important fact in them. The notes are on virtually every page and add nothing to the reading experience, and in a few cases are really irrelevant [a bit about the pubs in on a dark street Holmes and Watson are passing through 'shining like beacons' links to a note about Sherlock once saying boarding schools being 'Beacons of the future!' being the worst for this].
They really just break up the flow of the narrative, usually to mention that 'Sherlock did something like this in whatever story', occasionally to explain a word like 'tantalus' [yes, I knew that already, thank you! I felt it was only explained so the writer could show off their knowledge of mythology and an obscure word with a duller definition wouldn't have been touched upon], they also have at least one inaccuracy, Holmes is described as using *10%* cocaine solution rather than 7%. Also while I'm on the drug topic Holmes uses the drug /during/ one case, In 'Sign of the Four' it is made clear Holmes only use drug between cases to relieve boredom, so two problems on one page there [I also read the author's Holmes and Watson book, more of an essay than a novel, and the same 10% solution was mentioned so not a typographical error], which is surprising as it seems to have had a lot of time spent on researching to make in canon and historically compliant.

So in conclusion, not bad but not brilliant, really quite fun and readable though if you skip the footnotes. I will probably buy another of the series, if I find it cheap.
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I hadn't heard of June Thomson's pastiches of Sherlock Holmes so was surprised to find that this is the fifth volume, and wasn't sure what to expect. In summary this is an entertaining read which tries to stay faithful to Conan Doyle's creations and manages that fairly well. Thomson's Holmes is a softer character than the original, teasing Watson affectionately about his lack of erudition more in the manner of Poirot and Hastings than true Holmes. And while Thomson works hard at capturing the atmosphere of Victorian London, there's something oddly different about the tone of the stories here. For example the first one concerns two card-sharps who are cheating in an illegal gambling hall, which seems an odd choice for a SH story. Despite tiny quibbles, this is an entertaining collection of stories that pays tribute to a greater author, and for fans is well worth a read.
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VINE VOICEon 23 March 2016
This is the third collection of seven stories I have read by this author, another such collection supposedly found in a trunk by a descendant of Doctor Watson, consisting of Holmes stories unpublished during their partnership for one reason or another. Another authentic reading set of stories, though in a couple of them it was difficult to see why Holmes had become involved, and the reasons for several of the stories' non-disclosure at the time of their happening a bit unconvincing. Overall, a good read though if you're a fan of Conan Doyle's original stories. 4/5
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on 15 November 2012
This collection of short stories about Sherlock Holmes is very, very good. I feel that the author is to be congratulated on achieving (almost)the syntax and idiom of a time long gone. As I have the Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes I was able to make comparisons and check references - All Good. I particularly enjoyed the way the author, June Thomson, interleaved her stories with the original Holmes stories and particularly the addenda at the end of each chapter. What a joy! However, there is one glaring error in the Case of the Aluminium Crutch which is set in the 1870s. The owner of the crutch was a small time thief called Whitey Johnson. I surmise that the crutch despite being aluminium would weigh in at no less than 3 Kg. Since the price of aluminium per Kg exceeded that for pure gold at that time Whitey must have been a very rich man. I doubt that his crooked accomplices would have allowed him to keep such a crutch for very long. Even in 1895 the price of aluminium was more than that for silver. Only when the Hope electrolytic cell started mass production did the price drop appreciably! (circa 1900s). However, I cavill. The book is excellent value and not only for Holmes devotees. I thoroughly enjoyed it
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on 15 April 2015
She, June Thompson, has done it again! She has taken two well known and fictional characters from the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, put flesh on them - and written their autobiographies! Most others could not have come anywhere near. I admit that I, a chap of average intelligence, found myself thinking I was, in fact, reading about real people. Quite amazing! Buy it. Enjoy (you will).
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on 18 December 2012
I find the writing style just as addictive as the original and I am really enjoying the new adventures or should I say the newly found adventures....Thank you for finding writers that are so atuned to the style and the characters, if they're ever considering a follow up I would rush to buy it.
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on 24 October 2014
As all admirers of the great detective of Baker Street know, in his records of the cases of Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson refers to a large number of cases that were not written up or published. There is a veritable industry to write up these tales, attempting to recreate the language and atmosphere of Conan Doyle’s world, with varying degrees of success. This is the fifth volume of such stories by June Thomson. They follow the canon faithfully, admirably attempting to reproduce Dr Watson’s familiar style. They make for an amusing diversion, but would certainly appeal more to those already highly conversant with, and admirers of, the Sherlock Holmes stories. The plethora of unnecessary footnotes is a bit of a nuisance, otherwise the stories are entertaining and undemanding to read.
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on 20 January 2013
Excellent collection of short-stories in the style of Watson/Conan Doyle. Highly enjoyable. The extensive footnotes are both helpful and proof that the author not only knows the fictional world of Holmes like the back of her hand, but that she has also thoroughly researched the real world in which the stories are set. (If the footnotes are a problem, then ignore them and read on without them. Big deal.)

I will be reading more in the series.
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on 19 April 2013
Generally a good read with the atmosphere of the Genre well captured.A couple of tales seemed to drift away a bit,but no real complaints. Good value as well
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