Initially, L. J. Hurst worked in the backrooms of the media industry. He now divides his time between work for an international scientific publisher and a rather more British independent bookseller. In years past he was a regular attendee at the Shots on the Page Festivals from whence Shots Mag sprung
After a gap comes another of June Thomson’s collection of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, her second from Allison and Busby (the earlier volumes were published by Constable).
Miss Thomson has always had an ear for Conan Doyle’s voice, and I would guess that a forensic linguistic examination would prove little difference between Miss Thomson’s Watson and Doyle’s. Following her earlier practice, some of the stories purport to be the missing Holmes’ stories, the ones that he mentions without ever telling them, which number at least forty-six in the true canon.
Unfortunately for the weak memoried she has abandoned her habit of giving the original reference in a footnote. Being one of those weak memoried readers I had to make a check when I read the first story about the “Conk-Singleton forgery”, and found it is a Doyle reference (in “The Six Napoleons”). On the other hand, the second story, “The Case of the Stray Chicken”, explicitly continues an earlier Holmes escapade, bringing back “Holy Peters”, the confidence trickster from Doyle’s own “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax”.
Five more stories make up this volume. Not all of them show Holmes as a great detective, and some could more properly be called tales or incidents. That, though, was true of Doyle himself, who never again managed to take Holmes to the heights he had once occupied after his return from the Reichenbach Falls, and reviewers said so when The Casebook Of Sherlock Holmes appeared in 1927. For all Holmes fans, though, this latest collection from June Thomson is a must-have.