The distinction between a pastiche and a parody can be more nebulous than you might think.
In his essay, “The Beginnings of Solar Pons,” August Derleth made it clear that he intended Pons as a pastiche of Sherlock Holmes, “not parody.” But Vincent Starrett, in praising the Pons stories, wrote that he found in them “a hint – just a mild flavor of burlesque.” He added that “it seems to me the best pastiches must have just that remote flavor of affectionate spoofing.”
Recently, I picked up a copy of Arsene Lupin Versus Herlock Sholmes (also known as The Blonde Lady) at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York. Most crime fiction aficionados at least recognize the Lupin name as that of the famous thief of French fiction. In this episodic novel, which I have known about since I was a boy, Lupin does battle with a character that might fairly be called a burlesque of Sherlock Holmes. The story is serious, but Herlock Sholmes is not.
Even less serious is Sholmes’s sidekick, Wilson. When Sholmes calls Wilson a “triple imbecile,” he is only stating the obvious. Think Nigel Bruce, but not as smart.
Lupin, on the other hand, is everything that the back cover of the Wildside Press edition of Arsene Lupin Versus Herlock Sholmes proclaims him to be: “witty, charming, brilliant, sly . . . and possibly the greatest thief in the world.”
And still, the best he can do against “Herlock Sholmes” is a draw. To that degree, Sholmes is like the character of which he is a parody. His one book-length appearance is worth reading.