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A three pipe problem Paperback – 1981


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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Mr Symons has never done anything so wholly delightful' -- Sunday Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Julian Symons is primarily remembered as a master of the art of crime writing. However, in his eighty-two years he produced an enormously varied body of work. Social and military history, biography, and criticism were all subjects he touched upon with remarkable success, and he held a distinguished reputation in each field. His novels were consistently highly individual and expertly crafted, raising him above other crime writers of his day. It is for this that he was awarded various prizes, and in 1982, named as Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America—an honor accorded to only three other English writers before him: Graham Greene, Eric Ambler, and Daphne Du Maurier. He succeeded Agatha Christie as the president of Britain’s Detection Club, a position he held from 1976 to 1985, and in 1990 he was awarded the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers for his lifetime achievement in crime fiction. Symons died in 1994.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Distributed by] Heron Books (1981)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007CAA4W
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on June 2, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Actor Sheridan Haynes is really Sherlock Holmes. Well, not really. But he does play him in a British television program. He has a bit of an obsession about the detective. They share the same initials. He even has a flat on Baker Street. If only life were as simple as it is in the books.

In real life, his Watson is an open homosexual, which bothers the intensely private Haynes. His wife is sleeping with the producer. They've rewritten his scripts to include a hint of romance. Traffic is horrible. And everyone seems to be laughing at him.

So when a new series of murders has all of London talking, Holmes - I mean Haynes - is determined to solve the case. Using the great detective's own methods, surely he can identify the murderer before Scotland Yard!

He starts by finding his own set of Baker Street Irregulars. The suspects - none other than his fellow cast members. Haynes seems to be getting close enough in his investigation to get himself into danger. Things escalate until no one - not Haynes, not the police, and not the reader - can tell who to trust.

I really enjoyed this book. The ending and the identity of the murderer was in question almost until the very end of the book. So many people looked guilty. This is more of a psychological mystery than a straight murder. Symons is brilliant at creating this sort of book, where you don't know what to expect at all. If you like cozy mysteries, this is very different, but if you prefer a book where there are more shades of gray than black and white, you will like this one. A well done twist on the classic Holmes story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is really a clever little book. TV actor Sheridan Hayes, who plays Sherlock Holmes on TV, decides to try his hand at a real case.

Some one has been killing people with a karate chop to the back of the neck. The victims come from different social strata and have no connection with each other. Hayes, who has been obsessed with Sherlock Holmes all his life, and looks the part, believes that deduction, not scientific method, is the way to find the Karate Killer.

Hayes's mimicking of, and devotion to, Holmes is quite charming, although his wife doesn't think so. He has troubles at home and on the set, all caused by his fidelity to the character of the master sleuth. He is something of a Don Quixote, but he's also admirably fearless (like Holmes).

It's a pleasure to watch Hayes perplexing, outsmarting and out-fighting thugs and deducing his way to a solution of the crimes. Other fun characters are the Scotland Yard Inspector who has to deal with a modern-day Sherlock Holmes – and a traffic warden Hayes enlists as his Watson.

First published in 1975, A Three-Pipe Problem is rich in both vintage humor and modern ironies. It's a rather sweet and very entertaining little mystery.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well thought-out plot-line if implausible set-up when it comes to the Baker Street home life -- I'll say no more so as not to spoil anything. None of the characters appealed to me as people, including the top investigating cop. Symons is apparently a writer hipped on sex but his frequent references to it add nothing to the story. To be honest, I skimmed/skipped a page or two here and there: the writing is workmanlike but it's not worth hanging on every word. The best of the Golden Age of mysteries: most of Josephine Tey, a great deal of A. Christie, Margery Allingham's Police At The Funeral (I don't recommend other works by her) and Dorothy Sayers's The Unpleasantness At The Bellona Club are all more entertaining than this, in my opinion. But: that's subjective and you may love this.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This guy is immersed, a Doylean scholar, let us say, so these are worth reading right there almost right up with the canon. Symons is very serious when emulating Doyle. There have been many imitators for over 80 years now, and I have seen some of the worst. This gentleman runs ahead of the pack , yea, he is almost the Hound itself. Only withvery close scrutiny will you see the luminous paint. Well worth the purchase if looking for more Holmes!
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This isn't a book in which Sherlock Holmes appears, rather it is set in the 1970's and the main character is a TV actor that plays Holmes.
Although I quite enjoyed this book there is one glaring oversight that the author makes (I will mention it here because it won't give away who the guilty party is) - at the end of the book the crook is killed and "Holmes" is knocked unconscious. Only these two people knew who the crook was, yet when "Holmes" comes to he is hailed as a hero and everybody now knows the full story. Who told them?
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