by Timothy Lane 9/27/14
This is a parody book review I wrote for FOSFAX 217, written in a deadpan style with fake names for the author, publisher, and reviewer that are intended to indicate that the review is a hoax.
THE RED LEECHES
by James A. Reavis (Peralta Press, $24.95)
Review by Rosie Ruiz
This is a Sherlock Holmes, pastiche, though set in the contemporary world. Like many such, it links the Great Detective with many of the notable people of the day, and not under such pseudonyms as Lord Bellingham. An odd thing is that there are no actual leeches in the book, and the title is left unexplained (though it’s taken from one of Holmes’s unreported adventures, mentioned in “The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez”).
In this one, Holmes is hired by a group of senior citizens to find out what happened to their missing medical care. Holmes’s investigation takes him to the highest circles in Washington, talking with such officials as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kathleen Sebelius, Don Berwick, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and brothers Rahm and Ezekiel Emanuel. He rather elliptically expresses frustration to Watson at one point, noting that such sources are even more difficult than Neil Gibson was at the beginning of the “trifling affair” of Thor Bridge. But eventually he solves the mystery despite all the difficulties. His past experiences in America are very helpful here, even though this is hardly his usual sort of case; at one point, he admits that it would have been easier to solve the case if the medical care had been stored aboard the cutter Alicia.
Reavis does a find job of maintaining the proper Holmes feel, if a bit anachronistically. Holmes is definitely less than thrilled with modern anti-smoking laws, but shows a fine touch of what Watson calls pawky humor by comparing Reid to John Garrideb, Obama to Charles Augustus Milverton, Pelosi to John Clay, Biden to Athelney Jones, Ezekiel Emanuel to Dr. Grimesby Roylott, Rahm Emanuel to James Windibank, Berwick to Mortimer Tregennis, and Sebelius to Susan Stockdale. (It’s rather unusual that none of the references are from any unrecorded cases.) Watson’s skills (not only medical, but running a practice) prove very useful in this story, which his fans will certainly appreciate.
Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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