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The Cyrus Barker series by Will Thomas
Glen Davis
post Aug 30 2010, 11:58 AM
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I've just discovered this series. It's a great Holmesian series about a one of Holmes' rivals.

Aided by his assistant, Thomas Llewllyn, he goes around victorian era London, solving crimes in a rationized way.

The weakness of the series is that it tends toward formula. Barker and Llewllyn are hired by some oppressed minority (Jews, Irish, and Chinese, so far) and enter that world to solve the case. Llewellyn falls in love, but it ends badly. One almost wonders if there are any English people in London.

Still, a darn good series.
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Ron Fortier
post Aug 30 2010, 01:18 PM
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Glen, I thought you followed my Pulp Fiction Reviews religiously. biggrin.gif I've been reviewing and applauding these since they started a few years ago.
Just got number five in the mail the other day. Can't wait to dig into it.
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Glen Davis
post Aug 31 2010, 12:06 PM
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"Discovered" was the wrong word. I actually sought them out because I read about them in your column, it just took me a very long time to find any.
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Ron Fortier
post Aug 31 2010, 12:54 PM
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Hahahaha, I'm now very, very happy I was responsible for putting you on to this series. They are really great books. Barker & Llewellyn are terrific characters and I hope there are many more of their cases coming our way.
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Glen Davis
post Sep 1 2010, 04:58 PM
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Now that I think about it, these books actually seem a lot like the Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr.
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Mark Ellis
post Sep 2 2010, 06:17 AM
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QUOTE (Glen Davis @ Sep 1 2010, 06:58 PM) *
Now that I think about it, these books actually seem a lot like the Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey, Jr.


Not surprising since Cyrus Barker made his first appearance in Doyle's "The Adventure of The Retired Colourman."

Here we see a rear view of Barker in this illustration from the story.



This post has been edited by Mark Ellis: Sep 2 2010, 06:22 AM


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Glen Davis
post Mar 9 2011, 04:51 PM
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For a guy who reads a lot, I don't buy many books, and it's been years since I've bought anything with Holmes himself, except for the movie ticket last year.

Someone gave me a copy of Murder in Baker Street, one of Martin Greenberg's collections of Holmes pastiches by modern authors. Most modern authors are unable to copy Doyle's unsentimental approach to Holmes, and as a result, we get kinder gentler Holmes. Imagine if I said "kinder gentler Parker"...yeah. Many authors also find themselves uncormfortable with Victorian era ideals, and this also enters some of the stories, to their detriment.

On the other hand, only one of the stories is the old cop out of having the narrator be some minor criminal, or supporting character. The old staple of Holmes meeting Someone We Know From History is also kept to a minmum.
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