For years now, The Prisoner of Zenda (by Anthony Hope) is on my bookshelves, waiting to be read… And, now, because of David Stuart Davies’ Sherlock Holmes and the Hentzau Affair, it will be soon.
The Hentzau Affair was a very nice surprise among the numerous pastiches of Sherlock Holmes I have (or I will) read. So, my article won’t sin because of its lenght because I have nothing to complain about… you know I hate that 😉 .
Presentation : Colonel Sapt of the Ruritanian Court journeys to England on a secret mission to save the country from anarchy. His mission is to engage the services of Rudolph Rassendyll once more to impersonate the King while the monarch recovers from a serious illness. But Rassendyll has mysteriously disappeared. In desperation, Sapt consults Sherlock Holmes, who, with his faithful companion Watson, travels to the Kingdom of Ruritania in an effort to thwart the plans of the sheming Rupert of Hentzau in his bid for the throne.
With David Stuart Davies’ quill, we leave the cosy security of Baker Street to wonder in the dark forest of Zenda in Ruritania. From some adventures in London to a country in jeopardy, Davies remember us that Holmes is not only a brainy man, a genius, but a man of action. It’s not always the case with pastiches, but reading « The Hentzau affair », I really felt it was Dear Watson telling me an adventure from one of his secret files. Holmes and Watson are faithfully depicted and placed in a different situation, where Holmes is still is amazing self, acting to protect the monarchy and its Queen from a very evil and smart foe. It’s a mix between adventure and mystery and Sherlock Holmes, don’t forget it, live some adventures during the great Hiatus all around the world from Lhassa to Khartoum.
Being out of London, out of England is a smart move from the writer. I really enjoy the small details of this Easter Europe exotism (like Watson’s difficulties with continental breakfast, quite priceless… for a continental person!) as the good plot with surprises till the end.
This pastiche really worth reading, and I am now eager to read The Shadow of the Rat and The Tangled Skein (by the same David Stuart Davies) who wait on my bookshelves, but after The Prisoner of Zenda!