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.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

A Sherlockian Tinge to a Magical Tale

I'm re-reading my way through Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy books with great enjoyment. 

If you know these three books at all, you know that they take place in an alternate universe in which the Plantagenet kings rule over a globe-spanning Anglo-French empire and the laws of magic have been discovered.

Lord Darcy is the chief investigator for the His Royal Highness, the Duke of Normandy, brother to King John IV. But in Too Many Magicians - a title reminiscent of three Nero Wolfe novels and one Wolfe novella - he assists his cousin the Marquis of London, who is nothing more or less than Wolfe under another name. Garrett evokes Wolfe wonderfully in speech and mannerism. And his primary associate Lord Bontriomphe is, of course Archie Goodwin.

All this I remembered from previous readings, along with the fact that Garrett manages to set up seemingly impossible crimes despite the ability of killers to use magic.

What I didn't remember was the callbacks to Sherlock Holmes.

In Chapter 10, Lord Darcy proclaims: "Once we have eliminated the impossible, we shall  be able to concentrate on the merely improbable." 

In Chapter 18 of Too Many Magicians, we get a play on the curious incident of the dog in the night-time :

"I should like to call you attention to the peculiar condition of that knife."

Master Sean frowned. "But . . . there was nothing peculiar about the condition of that knife."

"Precisely. That was the peculiar condition."

You don't have to be as Wolfean and/or a Sherlockian to enjoy the Lord Darcy stories, but it adds to the pleasure. 

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