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, August 2, 2013

The Amazing Mycroft Mysteries

The most amazing thing about The Amazing Mycroft Mysteries is that the publisher of this omnibus volume didn't know who Mr. Mycroft was. I thought about this recently when somebody mentioned the series on Facebook. 

On the Amazon website, the description of the book says:

"1980, hardcover omnibus edition, Vanguard Press, NY, 715 pages. Collects 3 novels concerning Sherlock Holmes' older brother Mycroft."

Not quite. The only reader to post a review on the Amazon site, David Adams of Minnesota, had it right in his brief five-star review: "Don't let the Mycroft fool you. These are top-drawer Sherlock Holme stories written by a master of the pastiche genre. If you are a Holmes fan, read these tales, you will not be disappointed!"

The misidentification begun with the publisher, Vanguard Press. You may not be able to read it, but the cover says "Three Cases Solved by Sherlock Holmes's Brother." The dust jacket is all about Mycroft Holmes. But Mr. Mycroft is an elderly beekeeper, just like the Sherlock Holmes we last saw in "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" and "His Last Bow."

When this volume first came out, I was writing a monthly mystery review column for The Cincinnati Post. In that column I challenged the identification of Mr. Mycroft as the elder Holmes brother rather than the younger. I mustn't have been the only one. Some time later Vanguard Press sent me a copy of a two-and-a-half-page press release defending their position.

I wasn't convinced by their release, and I'm still not. I'll go instead with Jon L. Breen, the distinguished mystery writer, scholar, and critic. He called A Taste for Honey -- the inaugural Mr. Myroft book in 1941 -- "the first significant book-length Sherlock Holmes pastiche, and it remains one of the very best."  

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