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message 1: by Ken B (new)

Ken B What are your pet peeves in reading Sherlockian pastiches?

Mine is the proof of provenance that most pastiche writers feel is a requirement. To me, its a wasted foreword or chapter. I really don't care how the story came into the possession of the author. I just want the Holmes adventure.


message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 174 comments I agree that it does seem wasted to have someone go on about - "I found this old box stuck in the attic of Grandma's Cornwall cottage.." I don't mind stories that open with Watson telling why he can finally publish a case, or why he chose the case.
I prefer pastiches that set set in the time period - other than the show Elementary, which I liked for the most part, I don't like Holmes being brought into the 21st century. Don't like time travel, but I also don't like it as a genre overall.


message 3: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 172 comments Recently, I ran into a pet peeve for the second time in a pastiche - both were fairly recent publications. One, I actually liked and reviewed well, and I did note that several other readers called out the author on this error.
Specifically, it refers to forms of address; i.e, how gentlemen, or ladies and gentlemen referred to one another. You note in the Canon, that Watson and Holmes always address one another by their surnames. It is not "Sherlock" and "John". While parents, siblings and relations may address a young man by his first name, a friend (Mycroft refers to Holmes as "Sherlock") gentleman friends, colleagues and associates did not.
Another pet peeve are issues of idioms - using contemporary terms and phrases that had not been coined until well after the date of the story.


message 4: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 174 comments J. wrote: "Recently, I ran into a pet peeve for the second time in a pastiche - It is not "Sherlock" and "John". While parents, siblings and relations may address a young man by his first name, a friend (Mycroft refers to Holmes as "Sherlock") gentleman friends, colleagues and associates did not. "

Were they self-published? I've read a lot of pretty decent self-published works, but this is the kind of thing I don't think would get past a publishing house editor. Even if it wasn't a true pastiche that tried to sound like Conan Doyle, just a Sherlock Holmes story, this isn't authentic to the period. For me, it would detract from the story.



message 5: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 172 comments Late to respond - no the books were not self-published. Again recently, I ran into this with another fairly well known Holmes pasticheur who had clients and Lestrade referring to Holmes as "Holmes." To members of the police force, he would always be "Mr Holmes" unless they were being rude or sarcastic, which wasn't the case in this book.


message 6: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Mulroney (blankens) | 121 comments jolly well said!


message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 174 comments Another pet peeve - having just made it through Dan Simmons book "The Fifth Heart" (put up a review) - is when writers use Holmes as a character but don't conform to Holmes' character. I know Doyle was famous for telling Wm Gillette "marry him or murder him or do what you like" but Doyle set out a very specifically defined character in Holmes, with pieces of his backstory, and I sort of resent it when a writer comes in and the first thing is how Watson got it wrong, how Holmes' history is radically different from what was set out in the Canon, etc.
If you want a totally different character, IMHO authors should make up their own original character, not take someone else's character, especially one as well known as Holmes and then change it to the point where it's just some guy named "Sherlock Holmes."


message 8: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 172 comments I said something similar in one of the pastiche forum's topics. Conan Doyle created Holmes and while I think there are gaps in his biography, and loose threads in the Canon that allow for some creative speculation, I don't like it when writers radically divert from the character shaped by Doyle. In a pastiche especially (as opposed to just a Holmes novel or short story) where the point is to reproduce the style of Doyle, I'm not sure how you can authentically do that if you're discarding his character blueprint.
Another thing that irks me - the earlier posts in this topic referred to books that were well-researched. I don't mind a well-researched pastiche, so that the geography, social patterns, language are correct, but I hate picking up a historical novel and having it so crammed with information that I feel like I'm reading someone's doctoral thesis.


message 9: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Mulroney (blankens) | 121 comments it does not bother me as long as they are well written


message 10: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Mulroney (blankens) | 121 comments house of silk i recomend


message 11: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 174 comments I sort of agree with J. that the point of a pastiche is not just to write a good story with Sherlock Holmes in it, but to write it so that the writing sounds like Conan Doyle. I have read a lot of "post Doyle" Sherlock Holmes stories and novels, good, bad and in between, but very few that could make me think they were written by Doyle.
I reviewed two recently - The Spider's Web and The Strange Case of Eliza Doolittle. Even though I had some problems with the plots, I gave both writers high marks for their ability to get Doyle's writing style down.


message 12: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Mulroney (blankens) | 121 comments house of silk for sure


message 13: by Fei Fei (new)

Fei Fei (fayfayzee) | 1 comments I’m sure this isn’t a hot take, but I can’t stand when pastiches involve supernatural elements. It just undermines the point of the whole thing. Holmes bases his thought processes on “eliminating the impossible…whatever remains etc,” so involving impossible things in the mystery just entirely destroys how Holmes formulates his theories. Like if there’s a case where it appeared as though someone walked through a wall, Holmes would base his whole theory on knowing that they didn’t. But if ghosts suddenly exist… I mean at the very least, Holmes would have to question the foundation of all his work.

I don’t want to shit on anything! All the supernatural crossovers would probably be a lot of fun if I could get past this! But I really can’t.


message 14: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 174 comments I also don't like supernatural elements, sending Holmes into space, into the future or basically anything that takes him out of Doyle's "universe" because I think if Doyle created the character and the "rules", people who want to use the character should abide by them.
Having said that, I got one of the MX anthologies - I'm liking most of the stories in them because they do adhere to the rules - published a few years back. It was called "whatever remains" and all the problems had to look like there were supernatural elements but they had to have a solution that was "real." Sort of like HOUN, which started off with this spectral mythical beast but the who and what were very real.


message 15: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 172 comments Patrick wrote: "it does not bother me as long as they are well written"

I agree that you want a well-written book. However, I also agree with those, myself included, who see pastiche as a particular category of writing that requires the writer to reproduce the original author's prose style, not just write a story using the original author's characters.


message 16: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Mulroney (blankens) | 121 comments i agree


message 17: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Mulroney (blankens) | 121 comments like THE HOUSE OF SILK


message 18: by Tara (new)

Tara  | 9 comments Has anyone read The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories? I read the Big Book of Jack the Ripper and liked the wide variety of options--some modern, some Victorian, etc.


message 19: by Johanna (new)

Johanna (johannadc) | 4 comments I've been trying to figure out why so many people mash up Holmes and supernatural elements. My current theory is that all the Victorian stuff blends together for people, so it's one big Holmes/ cyberpunk/ Dracula/ Lovecraftian mush. I don't care for it either.


message 20: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Mulroney (blankens) | 121 comments i agree


message 21: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 174 comments Tara wrote: "Has anyone read The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories? I read the Big Book of Jack the Ripper and liked the wide variety of options--some modern, some Victorian, etc."

I read it a while back (I think it came out about 6-7 yrs ago) and remember being underwhelmed. There were some big names - Stephen King, Colin Dexter, Kingsley Amis - so I was surprised that so few stories seemed to sound like Conan Doyle, which to me is the point of the story. In another topic, on this group I listed 10 of my favorite pastiche writers based on their ability to be faithful to the characters and to Conan Doyle's style. None of them would be called "big name" writers like King, but all of them produced better pastiches


message 22: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 174 comments Johanna wrote: "I've been trying to figure out why so many people mash up Holmes and supernatural elements. My current theory is that all the Victorian stuff blends together for people, so it's one big Holmes/ cyb..."

I personally don't like taking Holmes out of his era or adding supernatural elements, but having said that I did like the MX Anthology "Whatever Remains" - all of the stories started out with a problem that seemed to have supernatural elements, (ghosts, disappearances, etc) but turned out to have a solution based in reality.


message 23: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Mulroney (blankens) | 121 comments Barbara wrote: "Tara wrote: "Has anyone read The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories? I read the Big Book of Jack the Ripper and liked the wide variety of options--some modern, some Victorian, etc...."

yes i read it but there were some good holmes stories in there


message 24: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Miller | 17 comments Tara wrote: "Has anyone read The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories? I read the Big Book of Jack the Ripper and liked the wide variety of options--some modern, some Victorian, etc."

I'm walking a very fine line in the novel I'm working on now, The Strange Case of the Pharaoh's Heart. It's based on the premise that Holmes in his later life (like Doyle) turned to spiritualism--but remained a razor-sharp detective.


message 25: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Miller | 17 comments Ken B wrote: "What are your pet peeves in reading Sherlockian pastiches?

Mine is the proof of provenance that most pastiche writers feel is a requirement. To me, its a wasted foreword or chapter. I really don't..."

I solved this problem. I put the "proof of provenance" on my website under "Preface." I don't need it in my books.


message 26: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 174 comments I just read and reviewed a book that had one of my basic pet peeves in it - it was a sequel to HOUN, and I'm okay with that, and I have liked a lot of stories that return to past clients or characters from the tales. But this book - The Beast of the Stapletons - had so many basic errors that it was like the author just read the Cliff notes. I don't mean deliberate changes or re-interpretations of stuff in the original story, I mean things that were just the kind of errors the writer makes when they don't take time to familiarize themselves with the source material.


message 27: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Mulroney (blankens) | 121 comments i just started this book!!so far so good ...i'll let you know when i finish it


message 28: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 174 comments Patrick wrote: "i just started this book!!so far so good ...i'll let you know when i finish it"

Would like to know what you thought of "The Beast of the Stapletons." In this one and another one I heard about recently, the author makes Henry Baskerville out to be an American. He did live and work in North America for a long time, but it's clear from the text that he was born and raised in England. Stuff like that bothers me because it's so easy just go to the text for a reference.


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