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July 28 , 2008

The Remains of Sherlock Holmes


In the vault of the National Westminster Bank in Marylebone High Street, London, an iron deed box lay undisturbed for eighty years. When, under the terms of its deposit, the box was opened in the spring of 2010 it was found to contain the manuscript records of fifty-six previously unknown cases of Sherlock Holmes, written by Dr John H. Watson between around 1890 and 1930. This is the fancy behind The Remains of Sherlock Holmes. The author, Paul W. Nash, has held true to the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories, placing a seemingly-insoluble mystery in the theatre of an imagined London which we are all just too young to have known. He has also extended the genre with tales which, in some cases, Watson considered too shocking for the reader of his own age, or which trespass gently on other paths of fact and fiction. The reader will learn the truth of the death of Dorian Gray, and the manner in which Professor Beaumont's advanced Darwinian theories affected his fate, and that of his wife. In these seven stories Holmes and Watson encounter actors and actresses, giants and dwarves, beasts and scholars, servants and masters, murderers and addicts, secret societies, an hotelier with a nursery rhyme on his lips, a hunchback, a huge sapphire and the most curious gentleman's club in London. At the last the reader is held close by Watson and drawn towards the moment of Holmes's death. Nash says of the book "No one can hope to match the original stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But I have done my best to capture the spirit of Doyle's writing, the atmosphere of London in the recent past, and the essence of Holmes's character and his relationship with Watson (which can be seen in so many later detectives and aloof thinkers, from Hercule Poirot to Fox Mulder and Mr Spock)." This is a book for anyone who wishes Doyle had written more adventures for his great detective, or wonders what strange cases Watson might have recorded and kept secret, against the day when the world was ready.
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