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Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Volume 6 Paperback – June 24, 2014
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“The Case of the Counterfeit Watson” by IA Watson: Doctor Watson wakes up in a mental institution restrained in a straight-jacket. There he is told that his name is Wilson, and that he is under the delusion that he is Doctor John Watson, associate of Sherlock Holmes.
Later, a Holmes and Watson come to see “Wilson” to assure him that he is mistaken, but Doctor Watson spots the two as phonies easily enough. He then learns that the Doctor in charge knows very well that he really is Doctor Watson and that Holmes is also a prisoner.
IA Watson writes Sherlock Holmes as though channeling the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This tale is no exception. Reading it is like tasting a great Chef’s entre. There are layers of mystery within mystery until all comes together in one burst of flavor! A most welcome start and I give it five out of five stars!
“A Most Unusual Dichotomy” by Michael A Black: Holmes and Watson have a most unusual client—Mrs. Hudson, their long-suffering landlady. It seems her nephew Herbert Wells has been dismissed without reason given from a teaching position he has held for three years.
The only explanation he has is that he was sent an envelope by mistake, addressed to a Herbert Welks, containing four fifty pound notes wrapped in paper. In finding out who left the envelope, Herbert Wells has crossed wealthy Sir Charles Moorehead, who sought his dismissal.
Later, Sir Charles is murdered, and of course suspicion falls on Wells. Michael A Black deals his hand of Holmes like a magician. The cards fall exactly in the order he wishes them to until the moment that the secret is revealed and the mystery solved. Five stars out of five!
“The Case of the Sugar Pearls” by Alan J Porter: There has been a jewel theft. A necklace of pearls shipped from France to England via post, has disappeared from their special box, which was sealed with a wax stamp. In its place are some sugar cubes and fragments of newspaper.
In solving this mystery, Holmes decides to use Mary Morstan, Watson’s intended as a decoy, wearing one of the pearls from the Arga treasure stolen by her father Captain Arthur Morstan and his friend Major John Sholto. (See The Sign of the Four) Mary is kidnapped and drugged and Holmes and Watson find themselves doing a deal with the devil to solve the case and get Mary back.
Alan J Porter’s casts of characters in the criminal element of the story are all well rounded, complete characters that entertain the reader. One becomes caught up in the byplay of characters as Mary disappears, reappears, and jewels come and go. I couldn’t possibly give less than five out of five stars!
“The Dark Visage in the Mirror” by Michael A Black: Mr. Black returns with a second outing in this anthology. Late summer, 1891. Watson is now married and has left 221 B Baker Street to live with his wife and run his practice. But a note from Mrs. Hudson arrives which sends Watson rushing to Baker Street.
Holmes has been at the cocaine again and has obviously been high for some time. The rooms are a shambles and Holmes himself highly disheveled. Watson attempts to take Holmes’ dope and syringe when a client interrupts the moment.
Edward and Henrietta Durbervale has come about their brother Henry, who has an opium habit and is accused of murdering a Chinese coolie with a knife, something he cannot recall.
With Mr. Black there is always something just simmering under the surface waiting to be revealed as the pot boils over. In this case, much is hidden under a thin veneer that soon cracks and reveals to Holmes the truth of the case. The question is—will the family want to hear it? Another fine five stars out of five story! A great encore!
“The Adventure of the Infernal Inheritance” by Greg Hatcher: Sherlock Holmes sends away a client! Professor Armitage who wished to consult with Holmes could very well be the reason that Moriarty turned out as he did. Seething with professional jealousy, Armitage prevented Moriarty from publishing his Dynamics of an Astroid and also defamed him by suggesting that Moriarty’s theories were a madman’s fantasy. So the Professor turned to being a Mastermind of crime.
After corralling Doctor Watson, Armitage states he has inherited a legacy, but dies of some strange illness before he can give any details. Now Holmes must act because Mycroft Holmes demands the inquiry!
A visit to Dartmoor proves that Colonel Moran knows exactly what is going on and says that the new weaponized disease could devastate half the continent. He speaks of the Technological Hierarchy, Professor Moriarty’s legacy.
Hatcher moves his pieces on the chessboard of the mystery like a most skilled player, slowly backing the clues in until the culprit has nowhere to run and is caught in a trap of their own making! Five stars out of five!
Quoth the Raven…
A good read... Worthwhile for those who take interest in Holmes.