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The Casebook of Solar Pons

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 10 months ago

Derleth, August - The Casebook of Solar Pons (1965)

 

What are we to make of Solar Pons, the ersatz Sherlock Holmes? Should a conscientious critic deplore this highly successful attempt to evade copyright laws by re-creating a famous detective under another name? Now that Holmes is out of copyright it doesn't seem like such an issue, but one wonders if it gave the executors of the Doyle estate any sleepless nights. Or should we rejoice that the Holmesian atmosphere has been so accurately and lovingly captured and put to further use? At any rate, Pons is here to stay and he has his own enthusiastic fans.

 

This is the fourth collection of Pons stories from Pinnacle Books, and it is highly readable. Derleth's Dr. Parker stumbles over British idioms occasionally, and one of the plots is recycled for two stories out of the eleven, but most of the stories are well-researched and carry off the pastiche extremely well. Dr. Parker is a little brighter than Watson, and the stories are set a few years later than Doyle's, allowing the use of some new-fangled technology like telephones and motor cars. This volume also includes bonus material in the form of a 'biography' of Dr. Parker, Derleth's own account of how he came to write the Pons stories, and a map of London by Luther Norris, indicating the scene of Pons's local investigations. Most of the stories are fairly clued -- probably more so than Doyle's originals -- and hold up extremely well to the modern post-copyright flood of Holmes reworkings. Highly recommended for anyone other than Doyle purists.

 

Ironically, Wikipedia reports that Basil Copper, the writer who has resurrected Pons, is having difficulties with the Derleth estate. Thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.

 

For the record this book contains The Adventures of the...

 

  • Sussex Archers
  • Haunted Library
  • Fatal Glance
  • Intarsia Box
  • Spurious Tamerlane
  • China Cottage
  • Ascot Scandal
  • Crouching Dog
  • Missing Huntsman
  • Whispering Knights
  • Innkeeper's Clerk

 

 

Jon.

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