What I like best about The Investigations of Sherlock Holmes is what John Heywood's collection of seven Holmes pastiches doesn't have:
- Mycroft Holmes
- Professor Moriarty
- Irene Adler
- Famous people from fact and fiction
- Schemes that will affect the fate of the world
- Story lines based on the untold tales of Dr. Watson
It's not that use of any of these in a pastiche is inappropriate or offensive. I've enjoyed pastiches that have all of them. But these conventions have been used so often ("round up the usual suspects") that it was refreshing to read a group of stories in which they don't appear.
Full disclosure: The Amateur Executioner and The Poisoned Penman both feature Mycroft Holmes and a whole cast of historical figures. But I don't regard my books (written with Kieran McMullen) as pastiches. By my definition they are stories in which Sherlock Holmes is a character, as distinct from stories that intend to imitate the prose style and feel of the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories.
Agree with that or not, Heywood knows how to spin a good yarn. I especially enjoyed "The Case of the Vanishing Fish." It starts out with a small problem of just sort Holmes would have enjoyed and ends with a solution reminiscent of one of the later stories of the Canon.
The Investigations of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks (iPad/iPhone).