Book, screen, stage, festival & event reviews.
After a gap of eight years, it is a pleasure to revisit June Thomson’s delightful take on Sherlock Holmes in this, her sixth collection of short story pastiches, offering Holmes and Watson fans new deceptions to enjoy. Since her first Holmes collection was published over twenty years ago Thomson has continued to invent some imaginative opportunities for the great detective, told from the perspective of the loyal Watson, and under the guise of ‘missing’ cases, or perhaps referred to obliquely in the original canon.
From counterfeit paintings to a skeleton in the back garden – via the clever diversion of the case of the widow with three hands, and a dead farmer in a barn with his son accused of murder – these seven short mysteries make for cosy evening reads, taking the reader from London’s gas-lit streets to the rambling and isolated hills of Wales. Indeed, The Secret Archives of Sherlock Holmes tempted this reader to revisit the earlier collections – fortuitous, as two are to be reissued over the coming months, as well as Thomson’s fictitious biography of Holmes and Watson. Together, they offer a wonderful bonus collection to fans of both the original Conan Doyle stories and of the new takes on the character.
In good news, Allison & Busby have released this not only as a hardback with a stunning cover design, but also as an ebook for added convenience! The first of the reissues can be expected in July, with more due in the autumn, and all come highly recommended.
June Thomson, a former teacher, has published over twenty crime novels including these pastiche short stories available from Allison & Busby. Her books have also been translated into many languages.