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Literature / Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not

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Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not is 2019 'what if' anthology edited by Christopher Sequeira and based around the premise 'What if Sherlock Holmes had a different offsider than Doctor Watson?'.

Sherlock Holmes truly trusted but one person—Doctor John H. Watson—but in an ocean of infinite realities it must be possible that in some of them Holmes' fellow tenant at 221B Baker Street could be some other doctor, from any page of history or the annals of literature!

Come with us now as we peer into the bizarre and sometimes terrifying fates that await the Master Sleuth when his cases, his reputation, and his very fate rests in the hands, or claws—of some very different medicos!


The tropes are afoot!

  • Action Girl: Dr. Amelia Van Helsing in "The Locked Cell Murder" is a monster hunter who wields a pair of wakizashi and comes to Holmes' rescue by making a Super Window Jump through the skylight of a warehouse.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Holmes choses to do this when he rejects Herbert West's chemical immortality in "The Adventure of the Reckless Resurrectionist". Watson hopes he will someday be able to join Holmes.
  • Clear Their Name: In "The Forlorn Death of Sally at the Crossroads", Holmes has to clear Doc Holliday from a spurious charge of murder.
  • Cowboy Episode: In "The Forlorn Death of Sally at the Crossroads", Holmes teams up with Doc Holliday to solve a murder in a small town in The Wild West.
  • Direct Line to the Author: In "The Adventure of the Madman", author Nancy Holder claims the story is transcribed from phonograph cylinders found in the effects of one of her ancestors, Mary Holder, who is a major character in the story.
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  • Elseworlds: The premise of the collection is 'What if Sherlock Holmes had a different offsider than Doctor Watson?'.
  • Evil Albino: In "The Adventure of the Empty Throne", Sherlock Holmes is partnered with Doctor Nikolai. The Big Bad is John Macklin (a character from the original Nikolai novels): an albino dwarf who has stepped into the power vacuum created bu the death of Moriarty, and who is seeking to destroy the line of succession to the British Throne and install Colonel Moran as a puppet ruler.
  • False Flag Operation: In "The Angel of Truth", Holmes discovers that a seeming Catholic plot against Queen Elizabeth I was in fact instigated by her spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham to allow him to continue his crackdown on Papists.
  • Gaslighting: In "The Adventure of the Madman", Moriarty sprinkles powdered Devil Foot Root on the wood Dr. Seward is burning to heat his asylum: hoping to send the doctor mad so no one will ever believe there was a patient called 'M'.
  • God Guise: In "The Angel of Truth", Dr.John Dee is seeking divine assistance in unraveling a plot against Queen Elizabeth I. He attempts to summon and bind the Angel of Truth. Who he in fact summons is Sherlock Holmes, who tartly observes that what Dee requires is not the Angel of Truth, but rather the Angel of Deduction. Throughout the adventure, Dee remains convinced that Holmes is an angel.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Real world doctors who get paired with Holmes include Doc Holliday, Doctor John Dee, Doctor Theodore Moriarty (a Victorian spiritualist and occultist), and Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • Improvised Cross: In "The Final Prologue", Holmes snaps off a section of handrail and its crossbar from the railway carriage, and uses it to repel his vampiric counterpart.
  • Locked Room Mystery: In "The Locked Cell Murder", Holmes and Dr. Amelia Van Helsing investigate when a convicted murderer is found strangled in his locked cell on death row two days before he was due to be executed.
  • Mythology Gag: In "The Locked Cell Murder", Holmes busts up a cult that sounds suspiciously like the one defeated by the teenaged Sherlock Holmes in the movie Young Sherlock Holmes.
  • Photographic Memory: Dr. Amelia Van Helsing possesses this quality in "The Locked Cell Murder". Holmes comments on how useful it is in their of work, and has her memorise the guards' files and recite the facts back to him as he needs them.
  • Prospector: A stereotypical grizzled old prospector, looking for his missing mule, plays a major role in the solution of the mystery in "The Forlorn Death of Sally at the Crossroads".
  • Super Window Jump: In "The Locked Cell Murder", Amelia Van Helsing enters the story by leaping through the skylight of a warehouse to save Holmes from a gang of cultists.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: In "The Sign of Two", Holmes rubs a pencil over the top sheet of Dr. Jekyll's notebook and is able to bring up some of his notes: enough to give him an indication of what he is working on.


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