Classic Sherlock Holmes on top form...
Finally, a Sherlockian tale that brings the elementary and the ingenious together as one. Stashower’s The Ectoplasmic Man is quite simply brilliant.
Dr Watson is rendered the lumbering sidekick, more so than in The Veiled Detective; although his deftness with a pistol scuppers enough baddies to make him invaluable to Holmes. We also become aware of the intensification of the relationship between the two men and the fondness is almost palpable. Holmes is quainter, more clipped in his dialogue and decidedly obtuse emotionally – one cannot help but pity the man his self-imposed cocoon. Stashower effectively capturing the essence of the man in an attitude that would no doubt please Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
To the plot then: Harry Houdini – the self-confessed greatest escape artist in the world is rising to greatness, but finds himself inextricably caught in an intricate web deliberately woven to implicate him in the theft of some sensitive documents that the Prince of Wales would rather not become available for public consumption. That Houdini and Holmes find themselves instantly at loggerheads is telling of the underlying insecurities both men seek to conceal from the rest of the world; that they both come to admire one another’s unique sets of skills amply demonstrates the acquiescence both feel towards evidential proficiency in their respective fields.
Stashower’s style is to act as ‘Editor’ to Dr Watson’s own recounting of events following the discovery of the investigation involving Houdini from a letter found in the deceased’s possessions. It is a peculiar choice to make on the part of the author, but makes The Ectoplasmic Man all the more jocular and engaging. Written with real ardour and attention to detail, Stashower has created a fabulously authentic Sherlockian mystery that amuses, entertains, stimulates and most of all re-establishes our affection for the great detective himself.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012