by L.B. Greenwood, © 1986, St. Martins 1987 mass market paperback, mystery (pastiche)
this is the 51st in my series of forgotten books
The first Greenwood Holmes pastiche I read back in 2008 was The Thistle of Scotland. I rated it as “just average” but I also had his one at hand – probably bought both used copies at the same time – and was in the mood for something Holmes-ish.
Legacy is more of an adventure than Thistle, less of a cerebral puzzle, and finds Holmes and Watson, who tells the tale as usual, making several trips into a rather bleak area of the Cotswolds. They clamber about in rough countryside, inspect gloomy ruins, do a lot of night hiking, all in search of clues to the possible location of a legacy belonging to the last surviving heir of Sir Walter Raleigh. There is a mysteriously worded legacy letter, only available to be read by the heir, not to be copied or removed from the office of the law firm that has held it for centuries.
There are a limited number of players and the evil member of the group is readily apparent. I’m sorry to report that no amount of misdirection, weak as it is, can suffice to fool the reader, though Watson remains clueless to the end, and the long – overly, tiresomely so – exposition at the end of the book, in which Greenwood, as Holmes, explains the whole business, reminded me a little of watching an Andy Warhol film that seemingly has no ending. As with the previous book, we are told that it was all obvious to Holmes, though the reader is kept in the dark, having to rely on the occasional comment such as “That’s significant, don’t you think, Watson?” followed by the expected “And after that Holmes would say no more”.
Greenwood has written three of these pastiches, as far as I can tell. Some people like them. The books seem to be a little thin, for lack of a better description, as if they aren’t fully fleshed out and the writing was done on a tight schedule. Not weighty, not a lot of texture, characters are just off the mark, somehow. No, this isn’t awful, it’s just not terribly good.
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Series organizer Patti Abbott has all the FFB goods on her blog, Pattinase, with a list of this week’s participating blogs and, in a day or two, a summary.