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.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Man Who Would Be Holmes

Rex Stout, the great mystery writer – and Sherlockian – once estimated that about a third of all his reading was books he’d read before. I can’t say the same, but I do enjoy revisiting old friends from time to time.

Not long ago, for example, I picked up a copy of the Julian Symons novel A Three-Pipe Problem, which I remembered enjoying when I read it in paperback back in the 1980s. And I enjoyed it all over again.

Anyone more than casually familiar with Sherlock Holmes will recognize the title’s reference to the Holmes quote “It is quite a three-pipe problem” from “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League.” But this isn’t a pastiche. It’s a 20th century mystery about a television actor named Sheridan Haynes who lives on Baker Street and plays Holmes on television. When chance puts real-life murders in his path, how can he not don the deerstalker?

With the help of his own Irregulars, and the hindrance of Scotland Yard, “Sheri” takes on the case – all the while insisting (to general disbelief) that he hasn’t confused fact and fiction. The solution is surprising and satisfying. And even better, I didn’t remember it!

I must say it proceeds at a rather leisurely pace, which may not be for everyone. 

Haynes appeared again in The Kentish Manor Murders, which I’ve not read.

Symons was a well-known British mystery critic, as well as a practitioner of the craft. His books of interest to Sherlockians include Great Detectives, Conan Doyle: Portrait of an Artist, and Mortal Consequences: A History from the Detective Story to the Crime Novel.

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