OK, it’s not really called that. I’m reading a “new” Sherlock Holmes story, written in 2001 by, supposedly, John H. Watson and Robert E. McClellan. I picked it up in a charity shop at the weekend and couldn’t resist the promise of a new mystery. It’s actually called Sherlock Holmes and the Skull of Death (how, already, very unHolmesian) and it’s apparently got something to do with Piltdown Man, a true story that’s genuinely interesting in its own right and doesn’t need dramatising.
Anyway, it’s rubbish. I heartily whatever-the-opposite-of-recommend-is it. It’s full of anachronisms and Americanisms that could easily have been edited out and just weren’t. The characters of Holmes and Watson have undergone a complete transformation and, most heinously of all, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle appears as a character in it (Watson’s literary agent – it could have been a nice idea, had it been done better, but it wasn’t).
Even more oddly, the author uses CAPS to provide emphasis in his dialogue. These snippets are all from the same short passage:
“My mind is ever open to ALL sciences,” said Doyle.
“Some say they’ve found the fossils of EARLIEST man”
Holmes smiled, “What do YOU say, Sir Arthur?”
Doyle looked down his nose at Holmes. “Unline Dubois, I INVITE investigation of my belief.”
It’s barely English. I don’t think I’m going to make it to the end.