Ten Years Beyond Baker Street by Cay Van Ash

ten years beyondThe best of the Holmes pastiches?

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

I was recommended to read this book by a fellow Amazon reviewer after I suggested that, in The House of Silk, Anthony Horowitz had caught the most authentic Watsonian voice of all the pastiches I had read. Having now read it, I agree that this book, although not in fact narrated by Watson, catches the tone of the original canon very well.

A blending of the Holmes and Fu Manchu worlds, we see Holmes called in to help Dr Petrie track down his missing friend Nayland Smith, presumably abducted by the fiendish Fu Manchu for purposes unknown. Although Fu Manchu does make an appearance, as does Watson briefly, the book mainly follows Holmes and Petrie as they hunt down their adversary through the wilds of Wales. Petrie’s observations of the great man at work are slightly more critical than those of the ever-faithful Watson, but he comes to admire him just as much.

Fu Manchu
Fu Manchu as played by Christopher Lee

The characterisation is excellent as are the descriptive passages, particularly of the Welsh landscape and people. There are some excellent action sequences, such as when Holmes and Petrie are in danger of being trapped in an abandoned mine, and the climax is suitably thrilling. However I did feel the book dragged in places where for long periods of time nothing much really happened. Also being more of an action thriller rather than a mystery novel, there weren’t many opportunities for Holmes to use his brilliant deductive skills. The semi-naked dancing and slave girls(!) jarred as out of place in a Holmes story, but I assume this is a carry-over from the Fu Manchu novels, which I haven’t read (nor indeed did this book inspire me to remedy that).

Sherlock Holmes as palyed by...er...Christopher Lee
Sherlock Holmes as played by…er…Christopher Lee

Overall though, this is a very strong entry in the world of Holmes’ pastiches – a shame that it’s out of print, but if you can get hold of a used copy, then recommended. I’m still looking for one that gets Watson’s voice, the plotting, the fine writing and crucially the Holmes/Watson relationship just right though (and with NO love interest or female assistants for Holmes!). Any suggestions?

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

9 thoughts on “Ten Years Beyond Baker Street by Cay Van Ash

  1. It certainly sounds like an interesting read. It really is hard to get those pastiches right and I’m glad this one did. I have to confess I’m not much of a Fu Manchu fan, but still, this sounds interesting…

  2. I, of course, love Fu Manchu, and therefore really enjoyed van Ash’s pastiche,which, I agree does have more of feel of a Fu Manchu + Holmes rather than vice-versa – understandable, since van Ash was really a Fu Manchu expert and wrote a very good Fu Manchu pastiche – The Fires of Fu Manchu – himself. I can lend, tho’ I would suggest that anyone wanting to read Fu Manchu for the first time starts with the Sax Rohmer originals, keeping firmly in mind when they were written.

    • Even as I was re-reading this review prior to posting it, I was thinking – I bet BigSister has every Fu Manchu book ever written! 😉

      I’m afraid they just don’t appeal to me at all.

  3. This story would actually have made a great film, with Christopher Lee as Fu Manchu and Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes. It’s therefore a shame that by the time it was published Cushing was over 70 and pretty much retired as an actor.

    • It would! They were both great actors for this type of role. Am I right in thinking you’re the Matt who recommended this book to me ages ago on Amazon? If so, welcome! (If not, still welcome! 😉 )

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