"The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes" - Book Review

The Lost Stories of Sherlock Holmes is presented as a collection of cases that Watson was forced to suppress. In some cases the reasons given for their suppression seem a little weak but that is a trivial point.

The book contains eight stories and, on a cosmetic level, the most pleasing aspect is the way that the book is presented in the style of the original Strand Magazine. The typeface is the same (or very close to) and the illustrations are excellent. In fact they almost make you feel like Sidney Paget had been resurrected to produce them.

The stories are all very much the same length and in that the author has again done a good job of emulating the stories from The Strand. Like the original stories themselves, some are better than others. I particularly enjoyed "The Adventure of the Medium" and "The Adventure of the Amazonian Explorer" but felt that "The Adventure of the Gypsy Girl" was a little too straight-forward and easy to work out. These are, to a certain extent, matters of personal taste and I think that plenty of people will disagree with my assessment of individual stories.

The headline act (as it were) is the first story "The Giant Rat of Sumatra". This is one of the many cases mentioned by Conan Doyle in the original canon but never written up. Of all of such cases this is probably the one most often subjected to the pastiche treatment. I've always felt that one of the reasons Conan Doyle never expanded upon this was because he realised that it would be difficult to do.

To be fair Tony Reynolds does his best with it and produces a workmanlike story but the narrative shows off little of Holmes's talents as a detective. I feel though that anyone would struggle to make a story out of this particular case. I certainly wouldn't pretend that I could do any better.

All in all this is very much one of the better collections of pastiche stories. For me personally I very much like the fact that the author has stuck to the spirit of the originals. He has not brought Holmes into battle with demons nor has he had Holmes meet other characters from Victorian literature.

Well worth the money and you should add it to your collection.
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