this is the 61st in my series of forgotten books
R. Holmes & Co. by John Kendrick Bangs, © 1906, Otto Penzler 1994 paperback, Sherlock Holmes Library, Raffles Holmes – pastiche mystery short stories
I have about four feet of shelving dedicated to Sherlock Holmes; canon and pastiche. There are shelved my well-thumbed copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes (published by Doubleday, with forward by Christopher Morley) and about 50 other Holmes-ish works. I pick things up now and then, some I keep and they go on these shelves, others pass through my hands to others, many to Kate Derie who is quite a Holmes fan. Looking for a change of pace, I pulled this off the shelf the other day and it satisfied that need pretty well.
R. Holmes is Raffles Homes, son of Sherlock and grandson of the well-known (should I say infamous?) Raffles. This collection of 10 adventures, originally published one hundred and three years ago, are told to us by Jenkins, his chronicler and sometime sidekick in adventure. These men live in New York and the tales take place there.
I found the stories to be very light in tone and plot, some with unlikely elements, if a Raffles-Holmes descendant wasn’t enough to stretch credibility. Willing suspension is ever required for Holmes pastiches, however, so that was no problem, in spite of the inconsistencies within certain of the tales. How could R. Holmes, having said he learned to make paste jewelry at the hands of a master, later say he had no way of telling if a set of diamonds was real or paste? It doesn’t matter, I guess. The stories are adequately enjoyable enough to warrant reading, though far from the best Holmes pastiche works available, even considering when they were written.
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All the Friday Forgotten Books can be found at the blog of Patti Abbott, Pattinase.