Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.
Friday, January 10, 2014
A Sublime Literary Cocktail
Did you ever pick up a book that has been on your "to-read" pile for ages and think, "Why did I wait so long?" That happens to me all the time. My Particular Friend, by Jennifer Petkus (Mallard Press, 2013) is just the latest instance of book I wished I'd read earlier.
If BBC Sherlock and Elementary each give us a Holmes and Watson of the 20th Century, Jennifer Petkus gives us female counterparts named Charlotte House and Jane Woodsen who live in Georgian England. Working within the social restrictions placed upon women at the time, Charlotte uses deductive reasoning to solve a number of thorny problems in six novellas or "affairs," as the author titles them, with Jane's help.
But this is more than just a series of clever Sherlock Holmes pastiches. Rather, it is a sublime literary cocktail made up of about three parts Arthur Conan Doyle, two parts Jane Austen, and one part P.G. Wodehouse, Not all of the stories, which are set in Bath, involve crimes. But they do all involve marriage -- or impediments to it. The formidable Charlotte handily keeps pride, prejudice, and all other obstacles from blocking the course of true love.
One of my favorite tales was "The Affair of the Reluctant Bachelor," in which one Bertie Woocester finds himself engaged to two women at the same time. Charlotte and Jane extricate him, but only with the help of Bertie's imperturbable valet, Cheevers. Like the Wodehouse stories that it draws on, it's ingenious and hilarious in equal measure.
I loved this book for its humor, its heart, and its loving send-off of three writers I love. But I will remember it for the jaw-dropping surprise in the last line. I'm eagerly looking forward to the sequel, which fortunately I have been promised is in the works.
Posted by Doctor Dan at 12:00 AM