“ Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Donald Thomas / Edition: New edition / Paperback / 652 Pages / Book is published 1998-08-07 by Pan Books „
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The secret cases of Sherlock Holmes are a series of short stories featuring Holmes and Watson as written by Donald Thomas. The stories are written in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle and are the best imitations of the great man's books.
The secret cases covers real life cases placing the fictional Sherlock Holmes in the middle of the investigations, they are secret because Watson claims that they would hurt the real life people involved. The cases are the theft of the Irish crown jewels in 1907, the Arthur Dreyfuss scandal in France, and the 'marriage' of George V in 1890 before marrying the future Queen Mary. The author rather places his ideas into the stories as the views of Sherlock Holmes.
The longest story is the investigation into the real life theft of the Irish crown jewels in which Sherlock is asked by the crown to ensure that the jewels are safe in their safe in Dublin. The king was due to arrive in Ireland and four days before his arrival the safe was found to be ransacked and the jewels taken. Arthur Conan Doyle in the original Sherlock Holmes stories wrote a coded version of this event in the Bruce Partington paper changing the jewels for the plans for a submarine.
In this version the finger is pointed at certain real life members of the Irish herald and how each might have stolen the jewels given the opportunities each had. However, the finger is pointed at the same person as Arthur Conan Doyle pointed at in his coded version a century earlier.
Another of the secret cases is a review on the Arthur Dreyfuss case in France, in which a French captain is accused of treason in giving information to the Germans. Sherlock is introduced to the case through his love of fingerprints and his fictional debate with the very real professor Manion head of the forensic department of the French police force. Sherlock is convinced of Dreyfuss' innocence, this is of course easy to write years after the events when Dreyfuss was exonerated and given a life pension when he was acquitted 15 years after his imprisonment. The Dreyfuss case is wrapped around a murder of the French president and the actions of a beautiful French civil servant.
The other major case is the marriage of George V in 1890, some 7 years before his marriage to Queen Alexander. Again Sherlock is reminiscing about his former investigations and how he was employed to ensure that the previous marriage was quoshed. Again there is a back story and plenty of chance for Sherlock to display his brilliance.
The books of Donald Thomas on Sherlock Holmes are the closest to the novels by Arthur Conan Doyle, it's easy to lose yourself in the books and you can convince yourself that you are reading short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle.