Between the Thames and the Tiber: The further adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Review

October 20, 2015

Riccardi, T 2011, Between the Thames and the Tiber: The further adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Pegasus Crime, NY.

Reviewed by Michael Todd

The first imitation of Conan Doyle’s Holmes and Watson appeared only four months after the characters appeared in the Strand Magazine in 1891. By 1995 there were over 2000 pastiches or parodies (Klinger, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes Vol 1 2005 p lvii).

From now on there may be an increase in the number of those imitations as the above-mentioned Leslie Klinger in October 2014 was successful in an American Court in arguing that the Conan Doyle estate no longer possessed copyright over the names Holmes and Watson (the estate attempted to collect a fee when other writers made use of the characters).

Ted Riccardi is a professor emeritus in the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University, and he has written some half dozen books featuring Holmes and Watson.

The stories, as with the originals, are written and have an introduction by Watson, and Riccardi has captured Conan Doyle’s writing style. While the stories reflect the original writing, the editing does have some problems, with a number of misspelled or deleted words, and the fact that the stories are not in chronological order is slightly annoying as you bounce back and forth between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Naturally you cannot write about Holmes without at least one Moriarty tale. This Riccardi does well, presenting the all-encompassing power that Moriarty holds over the criminal world in the story Porlock’s Demise, and this being a Holmes’ tale naturally there has to be code breaking involving a polyvalent semantic cipher (which is an actual thing).

Also returning is Mycroft Holmes whose death by stroke in the Diogenes Club in 1914 means the outbreak of war as he wasn’t able to prevent the assassination of the Austrian Archduke in Sarajevo.

Another story of note is that of The case of Isadora Persano which revolves around so called spiritualism and introduces Conan Doyle as a character due to his well known belief in psychics.

Allowing for the editing issues, Riccardi is a Conan Doyle imitator well worth reading.

I had intended to review Anthony Horowitz’s Moriarty which was recently published in 2014 by Orion Books and is the follow up to The House of Silk, Horowitz’s first Holmes and Watson imitation (reviewed in Steep Stairs vol.6). The trouble is that with only some 20 pages to go Horowitz does such a “I never saw that coming” plot jump that I cannot think of a way of reviewing the book that wouldn’t spoil it for others. I’ll just say it is a very good book.

One Response to “Between the Thames and the Tiber: The further adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Review”

  1. […] award-winning contemporary children’s literature. The final book review in this volume, Between the Thames and the Tiber: The further adventures of Sherlock Holmes: A Review by Michael Todd, introduces the reader to Riccardi, a Conan Doyle imitator and his book Between the […]

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