David Stuart Davies is a British writer. He worked as a teacher of English before becoming a full-time editor, writer, and playwright. Davies has written extensively about Sherlock Holmes, both fiction and non-fiction. He is the editor of Red Herrings, the monthly in-house publication of the Crime Writers' Association.
The two authors of this enjoyable Sherlockian romp are more associated with novels featuring gunslingers, outlaws, saloons and shootouts in OK-type corrals rather than criminal misdemeanours taking place in fog-shrouded Victorian London. However, cunningly, they manage to bring more than a touch of the wild and woolly west to Baker Street. Two of the major characters are from America and one in particular, a gun-toting stranger from ‘Missoura’ has a surprising and notorious identity.
In a literary scene which is currently awash with Holmes pastiches it is pleasing to encounter one that introduces such interesting and diverting touches as Sherlock Holmes & the Queen of Diamonds. The novel is told in the third person, which benefits the narrative in two ways: we are not lumbered with laboured pseudo Watson reportage which when presented by a modern writer can often ring false and mannered; and it also allows the reader to witness scenes in which Watson and Holmes do not appear, thus adding to the range of drama and suspense. Despite the comparative freshness of this approach, Holmes remains the genius detective of old. While investigating a series of daring and baffling jewel robberies, he is able to dazzle with his remarkable deductions – some of which do strain credibility.
It has to be said that the characterisation in general is rather sketchy and one dimensional, but the story is told with such dash and verve that this hardly seems to matter. A robbery on horseback on the dark streets of London is just one of the dramatic set pieces. While not by any means a ground-breaking entry into the annals of the Baker Street sleuth, this novel rarely fails to excite and engage attention and as such will more than satisfy the Holmes fans.
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