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Literature / Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes

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A 1979 Sherlock Holmes Pastiche written by Loren D. Estleman (some versions list Estleman as "John H. Watson, M.D."), which blends the Holmes universe with that of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Holmes is hired by attorney G.J. Utterson to look into a certain Edward Hyde on behalf of Utterson's childhood friend and client, renowned physician and scientist Dr. Henry Jekyll. Hyde, an uncouth ruffian and would-be murderer, has recently been named Jekyll's sole heir in the doctor's revised will, and the lawyer fears blackmail. It's up to Holmes, along with trusty Dr. Watson, to discover what damning secret Hyde is holding over Jekyll's head. But, of course, the connection between the two is far stranger than any of them could've guessed.
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Obviously, the connection between Jekyll and Hyde is pretty much a Foregone Conclusion, but nevertheless Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes is a fun romp, and it's exciting seeing the great detective's skills put to the test as he and Watson unravel the mystery. And many characters typically left out of Jekyll and Hyde adaptations (such as Utterson and his cousin Richard Enfield and the irascible Inspector Newcomen) make appearances here, indicating that Estleman really knows Stevenson's original novel inside and out. It also features cameos from many familiar faces from the Holmes canon, including Mycroft Holmes, Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade, and the Baker Street Irregulars.

The book has been reprinted several times, most recently as part of Titan Books' Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series. Author Estleman wrote one other Holmes pastiche, Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula (also known as "The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count"), in which the great detective faces off against Dracula.

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Tropes used in this novel:

  • Bar Fight: Hyde tries to start one in Stürmer's between himself and Holmes, but Stürmer himself puts the kibosh on any confrontation by threatening to throw them all out.
  • Chase Scene: Several, with horse-drawn carriages.
  • Crossover: Between the Sherlock Holmes stories and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Estleman posits that Stevenson's novel is a toned down, loose retelling of the real events surrounding Dr. Jekyll's death. The prologue even involves the notion that it would've been published as an official Holmes story, had Watson's manuscript not been lost. The prologue reveals that a man named Georgie Collins found it in a bombed-out house in World War II.
  • Noodle Incident: The Wingate Dennis case. It's mentioned briefly at the beginning, when Holmes futzes with some test tubes and then sends a commissionaire to inform Inspector Gregson that Mrs. Dennis in innocent in her husband's death.
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  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: At one point, Holmes and Watson try to get into Jekyll's house, so Poole the butler has another servant, Bradshaw, force them to leave. Initially, Holmes thinks he can take the guy, but Bradshaw no-sells the hardest punch the detective can lay across his jaw, prompting Holmes to decide it's time he and Watson vamoosed.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Needless to say, the mystery revolves around Hyde's connection to Jekyll and the ultimate revelation that they're two halves of the same person.
  • Psycho for Hire: Ian MacTeague, a Scottish Knife Nut thug Hyde hires to carve his (Hyde's) initials into Holmes' flesh.
  • Suicide by Cop: The transforming Jekyll goads Holmes into shooting him, rather than poisoning himself.
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