Monday, April 13, 2009

Gaslight Grimoire Reviewed - The Passenger's Log: January 6, 2009 Summer Issue

The Passenger's Log: January 6, 2009 Summer Issue
Gaslight Grimoire
Edited by J.R. Campbell & Charles Prepolec
Reviewed by Rosane McNamara

Gaslight Grimoire is a terrific read. At this point, several of my fellow Passengers have probably just fainted as I am known for my dislike of , not all, but most pastiches - not because I can only be satisfied by “the real thing” but because I have so often been disappointed by pallid, sometimes inept, imitators who think it sufficient to dress up a quasi-canonical plot line with a few typical situations (Holmes ticking Watson off for being a lousy writer) and some Victorian sounding dialogue.

This book is different however as all involved are so deeply imbued with the world of Sherlock Holmes that the stories flow naturally and convincingly. Instead of attempting to slavishly reproduce canonical look-alikes, these authors use the original as a point of departure to have fun with the Holmesian milleur and, so assured is their grasp of the original, that the result is witty, imaginative and very entertaining. Moreover, each of the authors writes confidently in the style of Doyle’s era, without self-conscious imitation or jarring anachronisms.

Although the eleven adventures have a common theme - Holmes encountering the world of the supernatural - the range of stories is amazingly varied and inventive: e.g Barbara Hambly sets Holmes the problem of finding the missing Darling children of Peter Pan; Martin Powell plants Holmes in The Lost World searching for Professor Challenger; Kim Newman uncovers a very funny “reminiscence” by Colonel Sebastian Moran; Barbara Roden matches Holmes against a rival detective more in touch with things that go bump in the night; and Bob Madison brings Holmes and Philip Marlowe together in a clever stylistic combo that produces some hysterical verbal exchanges. The contributions of Sydney Passengers Chris Sequeira and Peter Calamai are outstanding, Peter intriguing us with the “real” solution to the murder of John Openshaw (‘Five Orange Pips’) and Chris presenting a chilling exposé of the “real” Sherlock Holmes.

To add to the enjoyment, each story is illustrated by the one and only Philip Cornell. Everyone involved with this book is to be congratulated on taking us so amusingly back into the world of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing
ISBN-10: 1894063171; Paperback: 304 pages
US$11.53 + postage from

Note: Reprinted with the kind permission of Rosane McNamara

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