Solar Pons - some thoughts

Most fans of the Sherlock Holmes stories are aware of the amount of pastiche and homage efforts out there. They come in many categories.

For me, the sort most likely to appeal are the ones where Holmes's name is not used. If you actually feature Holmes in your stories I will place the bar very high and pretty much no one comes close to Doyle (even at his personal worst).

On the other hand, if you go to the trouble of creating your own character who just happens to share some (or most) characteristics with Holmes, I'll be a lot more open-minded.

For this reason I am very fond of Solar Pons. For those who don't know, Pons operates in the years between the two World Wars (or at least he does in the stories I've read to date). Despite this they still have a very Victorian feel to them (leaving aside the non-Victorian trappings of the early twentieth century).

I came to Solar Pons very late. I've been a Sherlock Holmes fan since the age of 8 so that's *cough* years. Despite this, I think I read my first Pons story about a year ago now.

They're not as good as the Holmes stories (arguably) but they're still great fun. The images you see represent the story collections I've read thus far.

Even though Derleth is piggy-backing on the Holmes stories, like every other pastiche author, his stories just feel better to me. I'm excited to open his books whereas I'm best described as apprehensive when I open a pastiche.

I have the next two collections still to read at which point I then have to decide whether I stop there or move onto the Pons pastiche efforts of other authors.

Are the non-Derleth stories worth reading?

Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here


  1. I find the Basil Copper Pons pastiches a bit dry. All are basically novella length and lack the sense of fun and "wink" that the best Derleth stories had. Copper was also controversial in Pontine circles for "correcting" the "mistakes" and Americanisms in his editing of the complete Pons (The Solar Pons Omnibus) that came out in the early eighties. Belanger Books will release all the Pons stories, the originals published by Derleth and Mycroft & Moran, plus the apocrypha, Derleth's works that had come out after his death (the novel Terror Over London features no deductive work by Pons but is more of a lackluster thriller; some of the unpublished short stories are hit-and-miss). David Marcum has put out a Pons pastiche collection, The Papers of Solar Pons, that I have but have not read yet. Personally, I feel that one can live comfortably without reading the Copper pastiches. There is no "Nicholas Meyer" of the Pontine world, but I'm hardly an expert in that area.


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