Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Between the Thames and the Tiber: The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Ted Riccardi

Open Road Media/Pegasus Books, ISBN 9781453217856, April 2011

Holmes and Watson are back, in a new set of adventures that take the reader back and forth between London and Italy, where the two friends are now spending much of their time, with occasional excursions elsewhere. The stories vary in time from the 1890s to World War One, and they aren't presented in chronological order.

Watson inherited a sizable estate from an uncle his family had little contact with, and, in the guise of an anonymous benefactor wishing to support Holmes' work, has given half of his inheritance to Holmes. This gives them a freedom from any concern about whether a particular client can pay, as well as allowing them to spend a good part of the year living in Italy, and travel in Europe as freely as they like.
Or, well, maybe not. That's what Watson's intro says; one of the stories later in the book says something different. I think there's a real continuity error here, but you be the judge. Sadly, it's not the only one. There's a story set in Italy, where they meet a certain couple. In another story later in the book, the same couple appears. There's no suggestion that the events of the prior story ever occurred, and events in the later story are just incompatible with the events of the earlier story. Some readers may not be bothered by this, as each story taken separately is excellent. Personally, I hate the sloppiness that leads to truly incompatible continuity errors.

I do think Riccardi captures the tone and style of the Holmes stories very well. His Watson is, like Doyle's own, not as clever and observant as Holmes but nevertheless an intelligent, level-headed, tough man who's a crack shot. The overall quality of the stories individually is high, and like Doyle, Riccardi has the confidence to leave some things not fully resolved.

Overall, not an excellent book, but an enjoyable read, especially if you're pining for more of that Holmes/Watson story goodness.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

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