From Publishers Weekly
While not up to the high standard of Sherlock Holmes and the Voice from the Crypt
(2002), Thomas's fourth pastiche collection conveys the tone and spirit of Conan Doyle's original tales with nary a false note. In the clever The Case of the Tell-Tale Hands, an aristocrat hires Holmes to look into his cousin's eccentric behavior, which includes wearing gloves at odd times. A school teacher who fears her brothers, both lighthouse keepers, have met with foul play retains Dr. Watson as the investigator in the richly atmospheric title story. Less successful are two tales rooted in history: The Case of Peter the Painter, in which Holmes battles anarchists in London alongside Winston Churchill in 1911, and The Case of the Zimmermann Telegram, in which the sleuth serves as director of Admiralty Signals Intelligence during WWI. This volume reinforces Thomas's place in the front rank of Doyle imitators. (May)
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Writing in the style of the Sherlock Holmes canon is somewhat akin to painting in the style of Rembrandt, or composing in the style of Beethoven. There’s a hint of grave robbing in the exercise of redoing something that can’t be surpassed. For those who hunger after Holmes, however, this new collection may fit the bill. Thomas has put together five novellas starring Holmes and Watson. An earl consults Holmes about a dissipated relative who burgles family members’ homes. Holmes discovers a lost poem by Byron. He solves the mystery of two lighthouse keepers who disappear. Thomas effectively incorporates the history of the time, the plots twist nicely, and respect is paid to telling minutiae. Unfortunately, Holmes’ own statements sound ponderous, lacking the original’s biting wit. Still, served as an appetizer during Conan Doyle’s 100th birthday celebration, these stories will prompt readers to return to the originals. --Connie Fletcher