Sunday, March 1, 2015
The Man With The Twisted Lip, by Terence Faherty
Last week I noted that Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Brendan Dubois were tied for first place with five appearances in my best-of-the-week list. By coincidence, a third writer enters that august rank today.
My former co-blogger Terence Faherty has come up with a great gimmick. He claims to have discovered Dr. John Watson's notebooks, containing the rough drafts of Sherlock Holmes adventures, before they were "cleaned up for publication." This is the fourth such publication and I consider it a significant improvement of the oroginal, which was not one of Doyle's masterpieces.
Both versions begin with a woman calling at the home of Watson and his wife, desperate because her husband has disappeared. In Doyle's version the man is a drug addict and has vanished into an opium den. In Faherty's tale the same man is a serial philanderer and is apparently staying in a hotel of bad repute. In both tales Watson finds Holmes there in disguise but what he is seeking is different - although the solution has some amusing similarities.
I won't go into detail. Watson correctly notes that the story has the elements of a French farce and Holmes says he is just trying to prevent it from turning into a Greek tragedy.
"My husband returns!" Rita exclaimed.
"Not a moment too soon," Holmes said.
"You don't understand. He's insanely jealous. And violent. If he finds me in here--"
Holmes sprang up. "Watson, I bow to your experience. Under the bed?"
Heresy of the best kind. And it provides an answer to one of the eternal questions debated by players of the Game.