Saturday, February 6, 2010

THE SHERLOCK SHELF 1: The Demon Device, The Giant Rat of Sumatra & Sherlock Holmes Illustrated

Well, shucks. Looks like Sam Spade is still on vacation. In his absence, I guess I’ll start pulling books off the Sherlock shelf and see what’s what.

THE DEMON DEVICE by Robert Saffron (1979) is one of those untold (until now) adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle. This one takes place during WWI. The Germans are developing still another secret weapon, and the intrepid author is sent to destroy it.  This one is unusual in that it is introduced with a note from Conan Doyle from the spirit world. Apparently, ever since his death he had been seeking a “sympathetic receptor” to whom he might convey this tale, and at last found it in Robert Saffron. Hey, I believe in aliens, so why not this?

THE GIANT RAT OF SUMATRA by Richard L. Boyer (1976) is “An adventure in abduction, intimidation and insanity.” This one is introduced by its true author, John H. Watson, M.D., by a note penned in 1912. He is placing this manuscript in the strongbox of Barclay’s Bank, he says, until the arbitrarily chosen date of 1976 “with the assurance that by then, the people who could be injured or offended by what follows will have long since turned to dust.” As a bonus, we are treated to a postscript by someone identifying himself as “S.H.” singing the praises of “Good old Watson!”  

SHERLOCK HOLMES ILLUSTRATED by Clive Hopwood, with illos by Paul Crompton and Glenn Rix (1981) is a mixed bag. Along with six newly illustrated Conan Doyle tales, we have articles on Holmes on the screen, the Victorian underworld, Scotland Yard, Jack the Ripper, and a 10-page comic book adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. And more. The illos are nicely done, and the inking reminiscent of EC artist Graham Ingels.


Richard Robinson said...

I have the Boyle GIANT RAT OF SUMATRA, thought it was pretty entertaining when I read it a decade or more ago, though I can't find my review just now.

DEMON DEVICE looks to be too much of a stretch, the Illustrated sounds interesting.

Randy Johnson said...

I bought the Boyle novel wh3en it came out way back when. I also have a trade paperback of it with three Holmes short stories added as well.

Evan Lewis said...

I think I read The Demon Device and didn't hate it.

Three more Sherlock tales by Boyle? Dang, a Holmes pastiche collector's work is never done.

David Cranmer said...

You know I appreciate these newer Holmes stories, though, I normally frown upon continuing a character after a author's death.

Richard Robinson said...

David - Holmes didn't die, he and Mary Russell are living in Sussex.