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The Improbable Casebook of Sherlock Holmes


Loved it! 😍

Cardillo's collection is rife with clever twists that offer readers the kind of vitality that Holmes fans love and the character deserves.

 Author of record Nick Cardillo, whose previous work, The Feats of Sherlock Holmes, bleeds through in this volume, weaves stories filled with the proper Victorian tone, clever manners, complicated characters, and vivid settings. Readers might be surprised that the 287-page e-book is as the title claims – a casebook of seven odd hits (stories) from a Holmesian savant's mind.

I was put off at first glance, despite the note in the synopsis. The book seemed a "retread," hardly worth a review. It seemed the Sherlock-only, publisher's effort to repurpose its huge story trove, until I finished the first tale, "The Scholar of Silchester Court". Thoughts changed.

Sherlock fans will find the book an early holiday gift that offers a new appreciation of Dr. Watson, who is much more in the foreground in the narratives. The stories spell bind. As Watson warns, "Each of the problems presented herein are some of the most fantastic chapters in my association with the Great Detective."

His driving, detailed, almost sycophant prose familiar to many who have actually read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or checked out any of the classic TV series and films, about the “world’s first consulting detective" takes readers on a tour through murders as expected. He also deposits them finally in pursuit of an improbable villainous mastermind.

Each narrative raises the plot's ante for the next. Watson’s introduction, the book’s briefest bit, drops into “The Scholar of Silchester Court”,  a story of Augustus Larkin, a researcher on track to solve a 200-year-old murder. With the dispassionate efficiency for which Holmes is famous, Watson chronicles the slow unwrap of layers of deceit that prevent a death in their time.

The other stories – “The Adventure of the Deadly Inheritance”, “The Giant Rat of Sumatra”, “A Ghost from the Past”, “The Adventure of the Weeping Stone”, “Death in the House of the Black Madonna”, wrench up plot complications until at last, “In the Footsteps of Madness.”

The account of bestial slaughter with cameos from H.G. Wells’ Island of Dr. Moreau and Doyle’s anti-Holmes, George Edward Challenger, hero of The Lost World, drags readers into a who-dunnit that prods Watson to put everything on the line. There will be no spoiler, but Cardillo's villainous mastermind Roger Malaquest, is an ingenious twist that ends the work with the kind of vitality that Holmes fans love and the character deserves.

Reviewed by

I am a retired Creative Writing professor who teaches and writes in Central Florida. My fiction, nonfiction and poetry reviews go back more than 30 years in a wide range of publications. In addition to the cited genre areas, I enjoy history, politics, culture, and memoir.

The Scholar of Silchester Court

About the author

MX Publishing has over 500 Sherlock Holmes books, from short stories to award winning novels and biographies. Over 200 of books have made it into audio and there are more coming. We also have regular campaigns on Kickstarter to promote new projects. view profile

Published on November 16, 2021

Published by MX Publishing

60000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Historical Mysteries

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