Post by Michael Connolly on Oct 25, 2013 10:31:38 GMT
The Last Sherlock Holmes Story was discussed very favourably on A Good Read on Radio 4 on Tuesday. The panel tried their best not to give away the plot, but the truth about Jack the Ripper (in the book) is implied. A Good Read is repeated tonight at 11.00. It is the second book discussed.
you're welcome. "dr. jekyll and mr. holmes" is very good, by the way. you won't be disappointed with "skein". the only other davies book about holmes that i've read is "the hentzau affair" which connects holmes with the prisoner of zenda but not very succesfully.
I've been meaning to buy a copy of Davies' Tangled Skein/Shadow of the Rat Wordsworth volume for a while but never gotten around to it. There still seem to be a fair few copies being offered on the internet so I'll give it a go :-).
Post by Michael Connolly on Oct 28, 2013 11:39:13 GMT
The Tangled Skein is the best of Davies' four Sherlock Holmes novels. However, I think that Sherlock Holmes Versus Dracula by Loren D. Estleman and The Holmes-Dracula File by Fred Saberhagen are better. Despite being written by Americans, their style is more faithful to Conan Doyle's original Holmes stories.
Reading The Breath of God by Guy Adams at the moment. I'm about 100 pages in and so far it's not bad. John Silence seeks the help of Holmes and Watson in a mysterious case of apparent possession. There have also been a couple of strange deaths and Thomas Carnacki has just turned up. Holmes, Watson and Silence are on their way to visit Aleister Crowley. Dr Hesselius and Professor Van Helsing get name-checks. Apparently, Silence has been in China with Van Helsing...a reference to Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires? There's also a mention of "Charles Kent" also being there, though I am not sure if that is a literary reference.
Charles Kent was the character played by Francis Matthews in Dracula: Prince of Darkness. It occurred to me that Guy Adams was fond of putting characters from Hammer films in the books of his that I have read, and sure enough there was CK, acting as a kind of vampire hunter protege in the 1966 movie. I will have to keep an eye out for other references to Hammer as I read the rest of the book. I know that some Holmes readers do not like the new pastiches where genuine supernatural events occur as Conan Doyle made Holmes such a rationalist. I take a more relaxed position. I don't mind Holmes and Watson meeting supernatural foes as long as the characters of Holmes and Watson remain true to how Conan Doyle portrayed them, and that they react to characters and situations, be they supernatural or not, as Holmes and Watson would react in the canon.
Another 80 or so pages to go and Watson, Carnacki and Silence have arrived at Crowley's house. Holmes has done a Baskervilles and gone off on his own to do some investigating. Julian Karswell has now turned up and there are preparations being made for a supernatural battle with the forces of the Golden Dawn. Watson notes that Karswell is busily writing strange symbols on strips of paper. Seems that Karswell is on the good lads side this time and he's already asked Watson if he thinks his (Watson's) publisher would be interested in a book on demonology.
Finally polished off The Breath of God. I've been reading it in small doses, switching between several other books as the fancy took me. Overall, it was quite enjoyable, though I would have liked to have seen more of Holmes and also more of his deductive reasoning, but to be fair, this isn't really a Holmes pastiche in the purest Conan Doyle style. I think this series possibly specialises in the more way out Holmes stories. There's a War of the Worlds pastiche in which Holmes and Watson team up with Professor Challenger to take on the alien invaders that I wouldn't mind giving a go.
My experience of The Breath of God was that I was enjoying it a lot up until the denouement, which massively disappointed and really didn't seem to make any sense. Well, maybe it made sense from a strictly Holmesian point of view, but it didn't have any internal logic to it. I'm trying not to give too much away to anyone who hasn't read it, but I thought the ending was a cop-out.
I had read a couple of the same author's Hammer novelisations a few weeks prior to tackling The Breath of God. He put in a fair few references in those books to characters from other Hammer films so it passed my mind that Charles Kent might be a character from a Hammer film. It took me a bit of time to realise that it is probably the character that Francis Matthews played in Dracula: Prince of Darkness that was being referred to. He was also called Charles Kent and aided the vampire hunter in destroying Dracula. I am sure that other references have just flown straight over my head, though :-). As for Carnacki; he was certainly annoying, even more so than he was in Hodgson's original stories imo. I thought it was also a bit curious that the text would occasionally move away from Watson to other characters' viewpoints. I think I can see why the author did that but it jarred with me a little, particularly as the text is supposed to be an unpublished manuscript of Watson's.
I had read a couple of the same author's Hammer novelisations a few weeks prior to tackling The Breath of God.
Have you read his Hands Of The Ripper? A stellar guest star appearance in that one, and no mistake! I loved it, thought he made an excellent job of the Countess Dracula update, too.
From the first, I set myself against "literature"; the story was the thing, and no amount of style could persuade me to select a story that lacked genuine, unadulterated horror. For those who wanted something high-brow there was plenty.
Hi Dem. Countess Dracula and Hands of the Ripper were the two that I have read. I wasn't really sure if I would like them but I ended up having a pretty good time with each one. I particularly liked CD and thought it was a shrewd move to switch the action to Hollywood in its golden age of scandals. Adams made a good job of making the main character both fascinating and repulsive at the same time. I preferred Adams HotR to that one written by Spenser Shew...hope that's his name...It really wasn't what I was expecting at all. Jill the Ripper, yes, but it is really Jill the Ripper rather than Jack's daughter as in the film. To be fair, I think the book was written prior to the film being made, so not the author's fault if novel and screenplay diverge, but as HotR is one of my favourite 70s Hammers I was disappointed that it wasn't much closer to what was seen on screen. I also see that there's a modern Captain Kronos. I have the original novelisation written to tie in to the film...does the new version change the setting/story substantially?