FFB: R. Holmes & Co.

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

cover image from Good Reads

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.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

All the Friday Forgotten Books can be found at the blog of Patti Abbott, Pattinase.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in books, Friday Forgotten Book, reading, Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to FFB: R. Holmes & Co.

  1. Bill Crider says:

    Nice pick. I’ve never read these.

  2. Four feet of shelving of Holmes pastiches! You’ve got me beat!

  3. Likely got me beat as well, George. I have individual copies of Doyle’s books as well as The Complete… I have a bunch of the pastiches, don’t know exactly how many, but don’t have them all together.

  4. J F Norris says:

    I thought I had found all of Bangs’ detective story parodies. Did not know of this one. I wonder if this is related to another Bangs parody Mrs. Raffles. I have that but – as usual – have never read it. Strangly enough, I almost did my FFB post for this week on Mr Munchausen, Bangs’ own version of the great tall tale teller’s adventures throughout the globe.

    I won’t enter the Holmes shelving competition. But I bet no one has as many Anthony Wynne novels as I do. I may be the only person in the entire world who still reads them.

  5. Richard says:

    George, I didn’t think 4 ft. was a great deal, but maybe I’m wrong. Or maybe it’s only 3 ft. I’m not counting the Laurie King books in that, though.

    Randy, I decided to keep the Holmes stuff together as it seemed when I wanted something like that it was much easier to look in one place.

    J.F. – I’d offer to send this one to you, but since, as you read above, I didn’t love it, I have already passed it along, with some others, to Kate Derie. Anthony Wynne?

  6. Jerry House says:

    Bangs has a Sherlockian pedigree (of sorts). One 0f his better-known books, the fantasy The Pursuit of the Houseboat: Being Some Further Account of the Divers Doings of the Associated Shades, Under the Leadership of Sherlock Holmes, Esq., was the first American book containing a Sherlock Holmes parody. This one, as well as R. Holmes & Co. and most of Bangs’s books, are available online for free.

  7. Evan Lewis says:

    Got a look at the Mysterious Bookshop’s Sherlockian section last month. Took up the entire back wall, which was about ten feet tall. And they didn’t have a copy of the one pastiche collection I was interested in, The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Ellery Queen.

  8. Ron Scheer says:

    I’m no Holmes expert, but I have some familiarity with the period from reading early-early westerns. The idea of a Raffles Holmes seems very cleverly “modern” for 1906.

  9. Richard says:

    Evan, I seem to recall you mentioning that on your blog.

    Ron, I think you’re right about that. I just wish there hadn’t been those inconsistencies like the one I mentioned.

  10. Todd Mason says:

    Bangs is another of the many I’ve been Meaning to read for decades, after early exposure and enjoyment of such slightly later folks as Robert Benchley and Stephen Leacock, and such earlier and more or less exact contemporaries as Twain and Saki. But there are irritable comments to be left on blogs!

  11. Pingback: Holmes fan | Greatfundsite

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