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Thursday, May 19, 2005

There's No Police Like Holmes

While not quite a true-blue Sherlockian, one has nevertheless taken immense pleasure in the adventures of Conan Doyle's fictional detective over the years. Which is why it was delightful to hear of the recent publication of two novels featuring Holmes: Mitch Cullin's A Slight Trick of the Mind (which the New York Times calls "multilayered" and "beautiful") and Michael Chabon's The Final Solution.

Interestingly enough, both books portray Holmes as a man of advanced years, living through the dying moments of World War II, finding solace in the activity of bee-keeping. (Of course, authors have made non-parodic use of Holmes for years: offhand, one can recall The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, by John Dickson Carr and Adrian Conan Doyle; Michael Dibdin's chilling The Last Sherlock Holmes Story; and Laurie King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice, the first of a series featuring a young American teenager assisting Holmes.)

As both Chabon and Cullin are well-regarded practitioners of literary fiction, one's palms are already itching to get hold of the work of these Baker Street irregulars.


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