Sherlock Book Reviews – Sherlock Holmes and The Pandemic of Death
February 26, 2022
Posted by Steve Emecz on
Sherlock Holmes Society of London
Daniel D Victor is a prolific writer of Holmesian pastiche, whose output has a distinct tendency towards literary connections, and this is the seventh book on that theme. As is so frequently the case, it is based on a manuscript found in that evidently huge, and seemingly inexhaustible, despatch box in the vaults of Cox and Co. I will not do anything to spoil the plot for you, since it is an enjoyable read in many different ways. Not only are there literary characters involved, but medical ones too, and accordingly this book is both interesting and topical. Watson comes out all right in the end, once Holmes has brought his skills to bear on the problem. There are sufficient Canonical references to keep things adequately grounded.
Daniel D. Victor has been writing Holmes pastiches since the early 1990’s – with a long stretch between the first and when he resumed with a number of short stories (many in “The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories”) and also a number of literary-themed Holmes novels (part of his “Sherlock Holmes and the American Literati” series). Now he returns with a very timely entry, wherein Holmes and Watson meet Sinclair Lewis during the great global pandemic of 1918.
This is a quiet book, with settings in just a very few places – quite fitting to the world in recent months during the current COVID pandemic, when so many people have been locked down at home. The story begins in 1926, just a few years before Watson’ death, at the doctor’s own Queen Anne Street residence. He’s visited by Sinclair Lewis, who is interested in tracking down details of a past event. Watson shares his memories on the subject – something he’s felt guilty about for a decade. Then Holmes becomes involved, and the dramatic truth is exposed, layer by layer…
As usual, Victor is a master pasticheur, and this book, clearly inspired by the ongoing COVID crisis, is a welcome excuse to once again visit the World of Our Heroes, Holmes and Watson, seeing them in a part of their lives that is often ignored.
Sherlock Holmes and The Pandemic of Death is available from this site as well as all good bookstores including:
Quarantines, masks, death—terms familiar to anyone who faced the so-called Spanish Flu of 1918. World-wide, it is estimated that the horrifying influenza killed more than 50 million people, significantly more than did the guns of the Great War, which was just then coming to a close. And yet no one has ever heard from Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Watson concerning their own experiences surviving the terrible virus—until now. In a recently-discovered manuscript, Dr. Watson reveals the secret which for years had kept him silent about the deadly pandemic. Only when he meets the eccentric American novelist Sinclair Lewis is the truth pried free and the story of an ingenious murder revealed.
American Literati Series Book 7