First, a side thought. I never know whether to include the book’s subtitle in my post title. In this case I did because it really is essential, usually I don’t though. Honestly, subtitles in fiction just tend to annoy me. Give me a good title without feeling you need to explain further. Just my opinion.
Back to the book. I am a die-hard Sherlock Holmes fan. While Doyle’s stories will always be first in my heart, I do enjoy the new adventures, re-tellings, re-imaginings, sequels. For a second there, I thought I was talking about Austen’s works. Unfortunately, this wasn’t my favorite of the pastiches.
Appropriately, Between the Thames and the Tiber is a collection of Holmes’ adventures transcribed by the ever-loyal Watson. It mirrors the originals in tone and style, but the I just didn’t like the stories. They were missing the spark that makes Holmes enjoyable. Yes, Holmes uses his deductive reasoning and Holmes and Watson’s friendship matches the originals, but the plots were lacking.
Several of the stories take place in Italy, which is fine with me. Why shouldn’t Holmes travel? But instead of clever mysteries and colorful characters, we get stick-figure historical names, Wagner, Puccini, Strauss, Liszt, Pope Leo XIII,Tesla. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself makes an appearance, at a séance where Holmes is determined to prove the medium is a fake. Which he of course does, but in a way that seems to contradict the opening of the book, unless I got my names confused. That’s part of the problem, the stories don’t seem to be in any order. I had trouble keeping track.
I’m not going to go into the plot of each of the stories. They’re all similar to some degree. You’ve got the mystery told to Holmes by someone. Holmes investigates, some of which the reader sees, some he doesn’t, then Holmes announces the solution to the inevitable how did he figure that out. Some of the stories were convoluted, some simply dull. It’s not horrible, just not good.
If you don’t love Sherlock Holmes, Between the Thames and the Tiber is surely not going to change your mind and really why would you bother reading it? If you do like Holmes, read one of the originals or maybe one of David Pirie’s books.
By the way, Sherlock Homes 2 is coming out in the theaters in December. I can’t wait. I loved Robert Downey, Jr. in the last one, not the standard Holmes, but still perfect.
2½ out of 5 stars
Category: Mystery & Detective- Sherlock Holmes
Riccardi’s Holmes pastiche #2
Published June 1, 2011 by Pegasus Books
Book source: For review