The Case of the Grave Accusation: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure by Dicky Neely and Paul R Spiring (Editor)
|The Case of the Grave Accusation: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure by Dicky Neely and Paul R Spiring (Editor)|
|Category: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An imaginative take on an incident which really happened in the early part of this century. It's amusing - but very short.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 100||Date: June 2011|
|Publisher: MX Publishing|
Much in the way that legend says that King Arthur will return when his country needs him, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson have returned because an accusation has been made against their creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The charge is that the great man plagiarised The Hound of the Baskervilles from his great friend Bertram Fletcher Robinson – and then went on to commit adultery, blackmail and murder in order to conceal what he had done. Holmes' rooms in Baker Street have not changed a great deal – if one can overlook the addition of a desktop computer and better plumbing – but it's not long before the pair are off to Dartmoor to discover the truth.
There's more to this tale than would immediately meet the eye. Back in 2000, the real-life Rodger Garrick-Steele wanted to exhume the body of Fletcher Robinson to prove that he had been murdered and it's this story which is the basis of The Case of the Grave Accusation although Rodger Garrick-Steele becomes Roger la Perlure d'Ail in the story. It's a neatly-turned tale which will amuse fans of Holmes and the non-Holmesian alike. It's interesting to see Holmes and Watson in a modern setting and coping (rather well, it must be said) with the changes that a century or so have brought about.
The draw-back is that this is a very short story, with only some 65 or so pages given over to the mystery itself. It gave me an hour's enjoyable reading and probably as long afterwards researching what had happened in 'real-life'. Holmes and Watson come across well – and there's even an Inspector Lestrade descendant in place at Scotland Yard. It's cleverly done, but I would love to have read it in a book of short stories, rather than trying to survive on its own.
Paul R Spiring, who edited this book, is an undisputed expert on the life of Bertram Fletcher Robinson and we can recommend Bertram Fletcher Robinson: A Footnote to The Hound of the Baskervilles which he co-authored with Brian W Pugh, but for a real treat have a look at The World of Vanity Fair - Bertram Fletcher Robinson, another book which Spiring edited. You can find a review of Spiring's writing here.
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