Reedsy

Of Course He Pushed Him and Other Sherlock Holmes Stories Volume 1

Worth reading

A new selection of short stories about Sherlock Holmes in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle.

SYNOPSIS

Sherlock Holmes’ adventures continue in seven surprising cases. Holmes and Watson investigate an alleged haunting at the Diogenes Club, vandalism at a prominent art gallery, the case of a frightened amnesiac, the takeover of 221B by vicious criminals, the sequel to “The Engineer’s Thumb,” the defiling of Holmes’ Stradivarius violin, and a Christmas story featuring a graveyard with angry insults carved into the headstones. The game is afoot!

In my experience as a high school teacher I have had the joys of reading and teaching many of the famous Sherlock Holmes stories written by the indomitable Arthur Conan Doyle. This volume published by MX Publishing and written by Chris Chan was my first venture into the world of adaptations and new stories based on Doyle’s creation.

Many beloved literary characters have received this treatment from Holmes, to James Bond, to Hercule Poirot. Much like Chan says in the introduction to this volume, sometimes these characters are so cherished we desire more than what already exists in the canon. And so, I was interested in how a new writer would treat the complexities of Holmes, the charm of Watson, and the subtle plotting of Doyle himself.

What interested me the most with this volume was actually Chan’s focus on Mycroft, Holmes’ brother. Ever elusive in Doyle’s stories, it was interesting to meet this character in a new light as well as witness Holmes’ sheer admiration of him. There was something wonderfully human about this that I enjoyed greatly.

The stories themselves bounced between typical yet humorous pastiches of Holmes and Watson, and brief stories, somewhat quickly resolved and lacking in memorability. But this is not to say Chan’s characterisation was off the mark. In fact, his Holmes is very reminiscent of the man we have come to love through Doyle’s original stories and several TV and film adaptations since. The story with the old lady and the ice-pick (I’ll say no more) was a superb rendering of Holmes’ genius and humanity.

Watson, however, was a little more annoying than charming in this collection. I felt Chan’s portrayal made Watson less critical and respectful of Holmes and more pandering and, if anything, like a little lost puppy when he didn’t get Holmes’ approval. While this relationship is famous for its back and forth, I feel Chan did not capture the independence and wisdom we know Watson possesses.

Thus, it goes without saying that these stories do not match up to the originals but I do not imagine this is MX Publishing’s goal. Instead, what you do get is a collection that any lover of the canon can enjoy, as long as you are willing to appreciate that the writer is working both with what exists and also their own desire for what they want Holmes and Watson to be.

REVIEWED BY

Kristiana Reed


I am a writer and freelance editor/proofreader based in the UK. I have self-published two poetry collections (Between the Trees and Flowers on the Wall). I enjoy reviewing poetry, short stories, literary fiction and historical fiction. I am the Editor-in-Chief for Free Verse Revolution magazine.

Of Course He Pushed Him and Other Sherlock Holmes Stories Volume 1

Written by MX Publishing Published on September 22, 2022 Published by MX Publishing

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