#635: A Taste for Honey (1941) by H.F. Heard

Taste for Honey, Astar filledstar filledstarsstarsstars
It’s difficult to know where to begin with A Taste for Honey (1941), the first of three ‘Mr. Mycroft’ novels by H.F. Heard.  The core conceit is delightfully barmy — I shall avoid naming it in this review to preserve it for the curious — and played with an impressively straight face, but beyond that there’s really only a short story’s worth of content here, spread thinly over 189 generously-margined pages.  With only one plot-line, only really three characters, and nothing to widen the universe or engage the mind in any meaningful way past the halfway point (when the ending will already be painfully obvious to anyone), this really is just a latter-day Holmes pastiche with verbal diarrhoea.

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#458: The Sleek Interpreters – Bringing the Young Holmes Brothers to Life in Mycroft and Sherlock (2018) by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

Mycroft and Sherlock
Three years ago, when The Invisible Event was but a callow youth, I happened upon a Sherlock Holmes-universe novel co-written by someone who shared their name with NBA Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  “Wow,” I thought, “that guy must hear the same thing all the time…” — and then it turned out that it actually was NBA Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and, well, I became even more interested.

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#438: A Little Help for My Friends – Finding a Modern Locked Room Mystery for TomCat Attempt #8: The Magic Bullet (2011) by Larry Millett

Magic Bullet

I shall eventually abandon any pretence that my occasional forays into post-1990 impossible crime novels are purely for the benefit of my fellow impossible crime enthusiast TomCat, but not just yet.  So let’s all take a moment to bask in how selfless I am, reading books I have no interest in myself purely so that TC can find something more modern to satisfy the cravings of the Impossible Murder Phanatic (or ‘Imp’, as those people have definitely been calling themselves for years now).

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#121: On the Many Wonderful Faces of Dr. John H. Watson, MD – Part 2 of 2

Sherlock Holmes collection covers

So, as established yesterday, there’s much more scope in Watson than there is in Holmes.  The obvious question then becomes: So what do you do with this?

Take the simple cosmetic changes out of the equation — the casting of Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson in the US series Elementary, for instance, easily one of the least disruptive changes it’s possible to get away with — and what you’re left with is the fact that Watson, being our entry into the Holmesiverse, is allowed to do anything that reflects the experience and perspective of the reader.  As discussed yesterday, there are aspects of the character, the constants I referred to, that don’t become him — making him the proprietor of a burgeoning dog-walking business, or a respected scholar of nineteenth century Gothic poetry, or giving him a form of OCD which means he must always cross his legs in the opposite manner to Holmes unless it’s a Tuesday in which case…, etc — but let’s put this aside as given and look at the way certain authors have expanded on Watson without desecrating him beyond all recognition.

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