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Literature / The Sherlock Holmes Stories of Edward D. Hoch

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The Sherlock Holmes Stories of Edward D. Hoch is collection of twelve Sherlock Holmes pastiches written by Edward D. Hoch and published Mysterious Press.

In these dozen tales, short story master Edward D. Hoch resurrects the most brilliant mind in the history of detective fiction. In the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes tangles with circus tigers, Druidic curses, and a pair of Christmas killings. Here is the finest detective of the Victorian age — recreated by one of the greatest mystery writers of the twentieth century.


The tropes are afoot!:

  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: In "The Christmas Client", Professor Moriarty sets off a bomb at the Houses of Parliament on Boxing Day, knowing that the police will assume it is the work of anarchists and swarm the area: allowing his gang to pull of his real crime elsewhere without interference.
  • Calling Card: In "The Manor House Case", the killer plants a playing card on his victims in a case of Serial Killings, Specific Target designed to cover up a Dying Clue left by their first victim.
  • Circus Episode: In "The Adventure of Vittoria the Circus Belle", Vittoria Costello, who won a beauty competition organised by the Rover Brothers, and is now part of their circus, tells Holmes and Watson of two recent attempts on her life, the last leading to the death of Diaz the knife-thrower. Holmes and Watson visit the circus in Reading, and while they are there, Vittoria's body is found in the tiger cage, mauled beyond recognition. Holmes soon deduces that she was murdered before being thrown into the cage.
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  • The Con: In "The Adventure of the Cipher in the Sand", Holmes discovers that the murder he is investigating is connected to the theft of a ticker tape machine that transmits horse race results to a casino. The manager of the casino explains how possession of the machine would allow the criminals to place bets with bookmakers knowing the results but before they had officially been posted.
  • The Convenient Store Next Door: In "The Christmas Client", Holmes thwarts a plan by Moriarty to tunnel under the street from a building opposite into the Bank of England.
  • Disguised in Drag: In "The Adventure of the Domino Club", Miss Sarah Rutherford infiltrates the all-male Domino Club wearing male evening dress and the hood and mask all attendees are required to wear. Her disguise is excellent, but no match for Holmes' powers of observation.
  • Dying Clue:
    • In "The Manor House Case", a dying murder victim drags himself across the room to pull the ten of spades from a deck of playing cards as a clue to his killer's identity.
    • In "A Scandal in Montreal", the murder victim—a German student attending McGill University to improve his English—gasps the name "Norton" to the constable who reaches him just before he dies. This makes a strong circumstantial case that his killer is Ralph Norton: a fellow student with whom he had a very public quarrel a few days earlier. Once in possession of all the facts, Holes deduces that his his killer is actually his estranged lover Miss Monica Starr, whose nickname is 'North' (as in 'North Star'). While dying, he reverted to his native German and was actually saying 'norden'; the German word for 'north'.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: In "The Adventure of the Anonymous Author", Holmes deduces that the girl Catherine Crider claims is her younger sister is actually her daughter, and the reason that Miss Crider is keeping her identity secret is in case the girl's father should read her name and come looking for them.
  • Fiery Coverup: In "The Addleton Tragedy", the killer, after realising that Dr. Addleton is dead, sets fire to the body in an attempt to conceal the crime and inadvertently makes the whole situation seem much more mysterious than it actually is.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • In "The Christmas Client", Lewis Carroll calls on Holmes on Christmas Day. He is being blackmailed by Professor Moriarty over his photographic activities.
    • In "The Christmas Conspiracy", Holmes and Watson attend a dinner party where Erskine Childers, author of The Riddle Of The Sands, in another guest.
    • In "The Adventure of the Dying Ship", Holmes travels on board the RMS Titanic and meets authors Jacques Futrelle (creator of The Thinking Machine) and his wife May.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: In "The Addleton Tragedy", one academic gives away their involvement in Dr. Addleton's death when they remark "I do not want my head bashed in, like Dr. Addleton"; not realising that, at the time, everyone believed Addleton had burned to death.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: In "The Adventure of Vittoria the Circus Belle", Vittoria is being trained to be the target girl for Diaz the knife-thrower when Diaz is poisoned in what Vittoria is convinced was an attack aimed at her.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: In "The Manor House Case", having murdered one victim, the killer proceeds to murder two others to cover up their crime, while leaving behind a Calling Card to make it look like the work of Serial Killer.
  • Significant Anagram: In "The Adventure of the Dying Ship", the conman Sabney is posing as a spiritualist named Baynes. Needless to say, Holmes is on to this immediately.
  • RMS Titanic: In "The Adventure of the Dying Ship", Holmes is travelling aboard the Titanic and solves a murder as the ship is sinking. He also witnesses the last moments of Historical Domain Character Jacques Futrelle: a mystery author who perished in the sinking.
  • Tainted Tobacco: In "The Adventure of the Domino Club", a Professional Gambler drops dead at the gaming table. After eliminating other possible means of administration, Holmes correctly deduces the man was poisoned by having cyanide injected into his cigar.
  • This Bear Was Framed:
    • In "Return of the Speckled Band", the killer injects snake venom into the victim using a pair of hypodermics tied together to simulate a snakebite.
    • In "The Adventure of Vittoria the Circus Belle", the killer stabs the eponymous Vittoria to death and then places the body in the tiger's cage to be mauled by the big cat. However, the body is not as badly damaged as the killer had hoped and, after a brief examination of the corpse, Dr. Watson is able to determine that the tiger could not have inflicted the fatal wound.
  • The 'Verse: A much earlier Nick Velvet story ("The Theft of the Sherlockian Slipper") established that Holmes was a real person in Velvet's world. Therefore these stories can be interpreted as occurring within the broader world of Hochs' other series characters.