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 22, 2014

A Peerless Parody/Pastiche

Sometimes - probably more often than not - I regret the books I give away. So when I recently had a chance to "reacquisition" a copy (in a different edition) of Philip Jose Farmerr's The Adventure of the Peerless Peer for my library, I snapped it up.

I first owned and tried to read this madcap parody (or is it a pastiche?) a generation ago. I disliked it so much that I didn't finish it. Although I completely understand my younger self''s taste, I managed to read all of it with enjoyment this time around.

The key to appreciating the book is knowing what you're getting into. A quote on the back cover from  Science Fiction Review gives the flavor nicely: "Phil Farmer has the ability to look a reader straight in the eye, tongue in cheek, and outrageously pull that reader's leg out of true. And here he is doing it again . . . "

The setting is World War I. An aging Holmes and Watson are tasked with retrieving a new form of chemical warfare: a bacillus that eats sauerkraut, which would devastate Germany. The bacillus is known as the S.B. for short.

Farmer frequently mixed characters from different genres in his work, which was extensive (75 novels). Major characters in this escapade are Holmes, Watson, Von Bork, Lord Greystoke (AKA Tarzan), and The Shadow. Minor appearances are made by Dr. Gideon Fell, Sir Henry Merrivale, Allan Quatermain, Lord John Roxton, and Lord Peter Wimsey.

In fact, The Peerless Peer is full of wimsey. It even ends wit a groan-out-loud pun. This doesn't make for great literature, but it's a fast and fun read.

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