Best Sherlock Pastiches

Maria Johnson
• Thursday, 28 January, 2021
• 8 min read

Some of the most marvelous pastiches are, ironically, those that take us the furthest away from the classic Holmes canon, and this Edgar Award-nominated short story by one of the finest postmodern writers of the age is no exception. It takes place in China at the end of the Great Detective’s career and is an elegy to love, loss, and survival.

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Mr, Boyer does, in an uncannily channelled four adventures that ring true even when Giant Rats are involved, and the chains of reasoning he pens for Holmes are impeccable. Humor is sadly lacking in many Sherlock Holmes pastiches ; the fact that this is one of the most often reproduced in anthologies goes to show that King avoids this error.

It’s a melancholy novel touching the edges of the unspeakable atrocity of the Holocaust, and in the best way, Charon melds the world of Sherlock Holmes with the grimmer reality of Adolf Hitler’s Final Solution. Sherlock Holmes is a manifestly prickly fellow, but his easy gentility with children displays his softer side in the canon, and this charming story about a desperately poor little girl by the name of Muffin (her mother once tasted one and considered it the most delicious experience of her life), who works as an under-servant for Mrs. Hudson at Baker Street, perfectly captures that dynamic.

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