apocryphal of the week

sterek fics of the week

Love Don’t Die by Finduilas [E] [33549]

Derek is nine years old when he discovers the gift that he’s been given. A gift that he didn’t necessarily ask for. Derek can touch dead things and bring them back to life. But not without consequences and conditions, many of which are heartbreaking.

Many years later, his path crosses that of his childhood sweetheart, Stiles, in very unfortunate circumstances. But now, Derek’s gift gives him the power to save Stiles. And damned be the consequences.


Putting the F-U-N in Funeral by apocryphal [T] [10811]

“Hale & Daughters Funeral Home,” Derek says dully.

“Oh ho! And which daughter are you?”

Derek casts his eyes up to the ceiling. It’s going to be one of those calls.

(In which Derek is a bored secretary, Stiles is a baker who may or may not have ulterior motives, and there are entirely too many macaroons.)


Soulseeker by alisvolatpropiis [E] [9713]

Sighing, Stiles reaches for Derek’s big hands, cradled in his broad lap, his skin lighting up even more at Derek’s touch. He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes, preparing himself to look for Derek’s soulmate. Whoever you are, he thinks, you better be worth him.


Down the Rabbit Hole by KuriKuri [G] [3953]

His hind paw catches on a rock and he goes down, crashing onto his stomach, the wind abruptly forced from his lungs. He tries to scramble to his feet – paws, whatever – but he can already sense a large figure hovering over him, trapping him in. He makes a break for it anyway, though, desperately trying to escape, but a large muzzle with rows of sharp teeth is already descending on him and

– and Derek Hale is going to eat him to death. And not even in a sexy way. Then Derek finally will become a murderer, and his dad will have to identify his body by scraping bits of his rabbit intestines off of Derek’s wolf-y canines.

All because he didn’t warn his werewolf friends off from their usual late night hunts, because then he’d have to admit that he’s a fucking wererabbit.


Finger Bangin’ by Hatteress [E] [3464]

Stiles starts bringing drumsticks to Pack gatherings, sitting himself on the edge of the group to tap out maddening rhythms on his knees as the werewolves train. The first time he’d pulled them out, spinning one stick in a showy twirl between his fingers, Derek had actually staggered a little, missed a basic move, and ended up on his back blinking up at fucking Jackson, of all people.

2

APOCRYPHAL OF THE WEEK

As I’m a long time holmesian, which has been experimenting the craving for new SH’s adventures since long before Sherlock TV series was even conceived (and so has a great experience in coping strategies…), I thought I could start a series of posts dedicated to Sherlock Holmes’ apocryphals.

Because, during the indefinite, but surely TOO LONG wait for Sherlock Series 3, we MUST have something to chew through, other that the first two seasons (and our own ramblings…)!

So, I’m starting with a very recent one: Antony Horowitz, The House of Silk, 2011.

This is a MOST canon-style story. Purists will greatly appreciate it. Not only Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are perfectly in-character for the whole novel, but the language, too, is as much faithful to ACD’s one as it can be.

But the greatest merit of this book, according to me, is the plausibility of the story. Not only because the plot holds from the beginning to the end (which, believe me, it’s not so common amongst apocryphals, even amongst the ones written by professional writers…), but also because, unlike many other apocryphals, the reasons why THIS particular case couldn’t have been made public for many years after its protagonists’ death sounds very realistic.

There is adventure, but there are also the deductions. There is the usual friendship and loyalty between Holmes and Watson, but without over-dramatic scenes and out-of-character outbursts. There are also Sherlock Holmes’ reputation and career (and life as well) put in great danger, which will constitute a bonus for all Reichenbach fans!

My final evaluation is just EXCELLENT!

2

APOCRYPHAL OF THE WEEK

This week I’m going to review a classic amongst apocriphals: Nicholas Meyer, The Seven Percent Solution, 1974

It won’t be too much a spoiler to say that this book is largely known for being one of the first novels trying to look into Sherlock Holmes’ use of drugs in search of an explanation rooted in his past (and particularly in his childhood).

It’s also famous because it portrays the dramatic encounter between Holmes and Sigmund Freud, and provides a very peculiar version of Professor Moriarty (but I’m not going any further about this topic, as I don’t want to spoil the story for those who haven’t yet read the book).

There are also an exciting train pursuit and sword-fighting, and some pretty decent deductions.

Some scenes are a little too over-dramatic, and therefore un-canonic, for my taste, but on the whole the book is sober enough, and quite well written, interesting and enjoyable.

Certainly it’s much better that the film that Mayer himself directed some years after, and which I personally don’t like, because it magnifies the flaws of the novel, while weakening almost all its more interesting features. Neither it’s helped by the choice of the cast: they are all excellent actors, but largely ill-fitted for the characters they have to play.

So, while my evaluation of the film bearing the same title is rather poor, my rating for the novel is VERY GOOD.

2

APOCRYPHAL OF THE WEEK

As we have already talked about the fascination which Jack the Ripper seems to hold upon many Sherlock Holmes apocryphal writers, this week I’m going to review another classic novel that deals with this issue: Michael Dibdin, The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, 1978

Brace yourself for impact, because this is a really hard book to read, for a true holmesian!

But at the same time it is so exceedingly well written, neat, coherent in itself (even if not always with the Canon - and here I’m making a little understatement…), and utterly intriguing, that you can’t help to love it at the same moment you are hating it, and you will most surelly hurry up to finish reading it.

The novel deals with Jack the Ripper’s murders, but also with the true identity of Professor Moriarty, and with Sherlock Holmes’ drug addiction as well. It’s also a great story about Holmes and Watson friendship. All in its own, peculiar way.

I’m usually a purist, but I must admit that this strange, disturbing, brilliant book remains one of the best apocryphals I’ve ever read. You might, of course, consider me an heretical, but I think this is the same kind of heresy that allows me to appreciate a Sherlock Holmes transposed to 2010 (even if the kind of character manipulation involved in this novel is QUITE different).

Anyway, a bit of advice: it requires a strong stomach.

Nonetheless, my rating for this book is and will always remain EXCELLENT.

2

APOCRYPHAL OF THE WEEK

I should perhaps apologise for having so long delayed the topic of ACD’s son apocryphals. But the best apology is reparation, and so this week I’m going to review Adrian Conan Doyle & John Dickson Carr, The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, 1954

This one is a collection of short stories, and the stated intention of the two authors was of expanding the tantalising references to unpublished cases ACD made in the Cacon; but this did not work out too well, and the new stories often have to abridge those references, or quote them selectively, or explain them away.

The quality of the writing, as well as of the plots, is not uniform: some are good enough, some others are barely readable, and others are positively lame. Holmes and Watson are generally (even if not always) in-character, but in a flat, lifeless way, which doesn’t grant much satisfaction to the reader.

Nonetheless, these stories deserve to be read, at least out of sheer curiosity, as they came out of the pen (also) of ACD’s son, Adrian, which tried to keep alive his father most illustrious (and most profitable…) creation.

So, my rating for this apocryphal is, on the whole, “READABLE”.

2

Yes, I know this is not an apocryphal, yet I thought it was worth mentioning it here, for all holmesians interested in seeing London through canonical eyes.

It’s a very complete, but also very handy (which is always an advantage, when on a trip…) little guidebook to all holmesian places in London.

I gave it a very good, but not excellent, evaluation, because here and there I found some minor mistakes. But I can wholeheartedly recommend it to you all.

3

APOCRYPHAL OF THE WEEK

Forgive me, fellow holmesians, for I have sinned: yes, after the not-very-good Web Weaver, I’ve had the stubborness and weakness to read another apocryphal by Sam Siciliano, The Angel of the Opera, 1994 (now reprinted as part of the collection called the Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which I’ve already happened to mention).

As The Web Weaver was, with all its faults, at least well written, I thought that maybe, as quite often happens, the first apocryphal written by the same Author - that is, the book I’m now going to review - could be better.
Which, to some extent, it WAS, even if not as much as I hoped…

The premise is the preposterous one you all already know: Watson never was a true friend for Holmes (sic), he invented almost every story he wrote (sic), Holmes always hated and despised Watson’s narratives (sic), so much so that they at a certain  moment had a major row and didn’t talk to each other for years on end, and in this occasion Watson invented Moriarty and had Holmes “killed” by him as a petty revenge (sic). Thus the whole book is narrated by Holmes’ cousin, the young Dr. Vern(i)er, who allegedly will be able to give a more faithful portrait of the great Sherlock Holmes.

Now, this book is actually slightly better than the second (2012) one, mainly because it’s NOT centered on a romantic interest of Holmes’. It’s true that the theme of Holmes’ views about and relations with the “fair sex” is a recurring one through the whole book, but at least it’s dealt with in a more sober and less buttery way (even if you won’t be spared an anecdote about Holmes’ sad Oxford romance).
Also, the book is a bit less a collection of clichés than the second one - possibly because it’s entirely built upon the skeleton provided by another work, that is, Gaston Leroux' The Phantom of the Opera (so, at least, it wasn’t necessary to add further un-originality).
The style is pleasant and some dialogues are really worth reading - Holmes manages to be quite in-character in many scenes.

The main problems with THIS book are, on one hand, the fact that, for 2/3 of the story Holmes and Vernier (which is an enjoyable character, on the whole) just wander far and wide, high and low through the meanders of Paris Opera, and/or just eavesdrop on other people’s conversations (there is not a single deduction in the whole story), and, on the other hand, the fact that, more or less since reaching the end of the first half of the book, you begin to understand how it’s going to end, and also why the Author felt compelled to insert the incongruous Prologue you’ve wondered about till that moment: and the ending will be, of course, a cliché (and an absurd one).

All in all, however, if you like the genre “Sherlock Holmes vs. …”, and particularly if you like an apocryphal about Sherlock Holmes and the Phantom of the Opera, you’ll find this book far better than Nicholas Meyer’s one on the same subject.

2

APOCRYPHAL OF THE WEEK

Well, today I’m going a little off my usual path: I’ve just discovered that there is a whole series of apocryphals centered not on SHERLOCK Holmes, but on his elder brother, MYCROFT!

I can’t let this pass unmentioned, so this week my review will be about one of these books: Quinn Fawcett, Against the Brotherhood. A Mycroft Holmes novel, 1998

The author obviously benefitted from a greater freedom than the one enjoyed by those who write more classical Sherlock-centered apocryphal. Even so, he had to stretch the Canon in order to achieve his purposes, because in this novel Mycroft is portrayed as a man that not only has a past of active “legwork” in the intelligence service, but who can also occasionally resume his role as “operative” when needed. So he hires an actor to impersonate himself while he is “on the field” across half Europe, with the task of just making himself visible everyday on Mycroft’s usual routes (from home to Whitehall to the Diogenes to home). This same actor provides Mycroft with the many disguises he uses while working “undercover”, and which he masters with no less ability than his more famous brother.

This could give you the impression that, through the whole book, Mycroft is constantly engaged in amazing adventures… In fact, this happens only in the final chapters, while in the initial ones we see him more familiarly decoding a set of cipher messages (which will settle the story in motion). The largest share of adventure actually goes to Mycroft’s recently employed secretary, Guthrie, which narrates the largest part of the story (his memoires are integrated by extracts from the journal of Mycroft’s valet).

The plot is not exceedingly strong, dealing with secret societies, a secret treaty, secret errands and secret service (a lot of secrets, indeed!), and a conspiracy to depose all European monarchies and take control over the whole continent by the Brotherhood, a mysterious association which deals in politics and occult practises (but no paranormal phenomena are involved, thank God!). Nonetheless, the reading goes smoothly enough, the characters are interesting, and on the whole the story is no worst than - say - Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda.

So, all in all, if you’re looking for a pleasant adventure tale settled during Victorian Era, you’ll be satisfied. Not a proper apocryphal, but quite a READABLE book.

3

APOCRYPHAL OF THE WEEK

The book I’m going to review is not, strictly speaking, an apocryphal, because it’s conceived as a fictitious biography of Sherlock Holmes, and not as a novel or set of short stories. It is William S. Baring-Gould, Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. A Life of the World’s First Consulting Detective, 1962.

Anyway, it has been so influential upon almost all following apocryphal writers (as well as cinema or TV writers), that it would be a serious neglect not to discuss it in this section.

The book is very complete and multifarious: it deals with Sherlock Holmes’ family, childhood, university education, teatrical training and stage performances (yes, you read correctly), and most relevant cases. The author advances his own hypotheses on many debated questions, such as the exact number of Watson’s marriages, Holmes’ voyages and adventures during the three “lost years” of voluntary exile while hiding himself from Moriarty’s minions, and his years of retirement in the Sussex Downs.

It’s certainly a most interesting reading, and no true holmesian could really lack it in his or her library. Nonetheless, it’s a quite cold book, full of details which never give any true color to the characters, who remain a little dessicated, lifeless - it’s more pedantic than enlightening, more committed than loving, if you understand what I mean…   

So, the overall evaluation, according to me, is of a pretty decent, READABLE book, which every true holmesian should have a look at, but not necessarily love.

On a side note, Baring-Gould was also the curator of a wonderful complete, illustrated and annotated edition of the Canon, which, as far as I know, is still reprinted on a regular basis, and which I strongly recommend to all appassionate Sherlock Holmes readers: William S. Baring-Gould, The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, first published in 1967.

2

APOCRYPHAL OF THE WEEK

This week, I’m going again for a classic amongst Sherlock Holmes apocryphals: Ellery Queen, A study in terror, 1966

The peculiarity of this novel is that this is not an original work, but the novelization of the script of the British thriller film A study in terror, which was released the previous year. I’ve never watched the film, so I’ve no opinion about it to offer, but you can find more information about it on the web. Anyway, the film and the novel differ in many points, and particularly in the ending.

Back to Ellery Queen’s novel, then: this is one of the many (many!) apocryphals which deal with a confrontation between Holmes and Jack the Ripper. It always seemed queer to a lot of people that the canonical Holmes was never confronted with the most notorious and mysterious (and his contemporary!) British serial killer, or at least with a villain character much alike. Personally, I don’t see this as a strange choice, on ACD’s part, as he probably wouldn’t have meddled Holmes with such a wide known and gory case. Anyway, this is one of the first apocryphals to address the subject, and also one of the soberest, which is a point in its favour.

The book is neatly written, and it plays with some of the more discussed hypotheses about Jack the Ripper’s identity. The conclusion, according to me, is a bit weak, but at least (unlike in many other novels about the Ripper) there is a definite one.

On the whole, a GOOD apocryphal.

On a side note: the actor playing the killer cabbie in A study in pink (Phil Davis) also plays DS Miles in Whitechapel, the first episode of which actually deals with a modern version of the Ripper’s murders.