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Philip K. Jones reviews Charlie Milverton and other Sherlock Holmes Stories by Charlotte Anne Walters

22 Mar

“This book is a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories set in the 21st Century.  They include agents and Rock Stars, cell phones and E-Books and take place in a thoroughly modern world.  They are not written in the style used by Doyle, so this Dr. Watson is not the Watson of the 19th Century.  Instead, Watson is married and is working for a law firm that specializes in “no win, no fee” cases of insurance fraud (Watson’s words).

The short story, “Charlie Milverton,” is the only one that was published earlier as it appeared in Sherlock’s Home (Steve Emecz, ed.)  Just as “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton,”this story is about a blackmailer who gets his comeuppance through the efforts of Sherlock and Dr. Watson.  It also features a retired Inspector Lestrade who is now working as a private security consultant.  Todd Carter, a “Manager to the Stars,” hires Lestrade to guard his girlfriend, Della Breton,an up and coming rock singer.  Milverton has a security tape of Della kissing another man in a hotel elevator and demands money from her to keep it from her manager/boy-friend.  Watson and Holmes muddle through and get Milverton arrested and deported on a technicality.

In the novella, “The Premier Bachelor,” as in “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor,” a popular, attractive female (author) is engaged to marry a (soccer) superstar, but then disappears immediately after the wedding.  Watson’s (and her) agent demands he get Holmes to help and they manage to solve the case, but the agent dumps him anyway,so that he will not have a second book of Holmes’ adventures published.  Watson worries that his wife will dump him when he loses his royalties.

In the short story, “The Leaping man,” as in “The Adventure of the Creeping Man,” Holmes and Watson encounter a man acting very strangely.  Some outlandish fan attacks Della Bretton when her Security Manager, former Inspector Lestrade, has left her with no explanation.  The fan is averted by a strange man jumping and twitching between Della and the fan, but her security detail is in a shambles.  Again, Holmes and Watson prevail, but Watson is tormented by his lawyer masters for not pushing paper effectively enough.

In the novella, “A Question of Identity,” as in “A Case of Identity,” a young lady of some substance is disappointed in love.  In this tale, circumstances are thoroughly updated to a 21st Century standard with cell phones and social media, but this young lady is bright and ingenious and fourteen years old.  Watson manages to sabotage a case of “injury for money” sponsored by his “no win, no fee” lawyer employers and ends up fired and on the way to marital rocks.

In the novella “Abbey Strange,” as in “The Adventure of Abbey Grange,” Holmes and Watson find themselves facing a murder that has been “pre-staged.”  Finding the true nature of the events and fitting the punishment to the offense is a complicated task for Holmes and Watson.  Further, Watson needs to find some way to support himself after getting fired in the previous tale and deserted by his wife in this one.  This becomes quite an epic in 21stCentury technology in itself.

Each of these tales is carefully crafted and all are satisfying as well as amusing.  The author tweaks the beaks of 21st Century social media freaks and brings the problems of the 19th Century right up to date, proving that people remain people as Sherlock remains Sherlock across the Centuries.”

Charlie Milverton and other Sherlock Holmes Stories is available from all good bookstores including   Amazon USA, Amazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository . In ebook format it is in Amazon Kindle,  KoboNook and Apple iBooks(iPad/iPhone).

charlie milverton

 

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