Sherlock Holmes and the Discarded Cigarette by Fred Thursfield

Review by Chris Redmond

Ideally, a review should point out the positive features of a book. So let's see, in the case of Sherlock Holmes and the Discarded Cigarette by Fred Thursfield . . .

  • The cover (design attributed only to www.staunch.com) is evocative and well executed.
  • The plot brings in author H. G. Wells, who has figured in only 15 previous published pastiches (according to the Pastiche Characters Index) and Ripper suspect Montague John Druitt, who has played a role in only eight pastiches.
  • There is a sentence on page 32 that is grammatical and correctly punctuated: "Holmes then asked Wells to give an outline of his story."
  • Many of the paragraphs are left and right justified (that means the words are mechanically spaced so the beginnings and ends of the lines are exactly even).
  • The name of the publisher is spelt correctly everywhere it appears, something that cannot be said of the names of the principal characters. The book is published by MX.
  • It's all over by page 95, if you don't count half a dozen pages of appended notes, including one that astonishingly claims the book is "written in the style of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution."

That's about it, really.

For reference, here are three sample paragraphs from The Discarded Cigarette:

  1. It is one thing to own (no matter by what means it was obtained) something that might be unique and possibly valuable it is another thing to find a ready market or a buyer to sell it to. This was the short term problem the first Mrs. Well faced when she returned to Bollinger & Mabillard to pick up the original mechanical drawings plus the copy.
  2. The worst sink of iniquity was The Rookery, a place or rather district, so named, whose shape was triangular, bounded by Bainbridge Street, George Street and High Street, St Giles. The colony, called The Rookery, was like a honeycomb, perforated by a number of courts and blind alleys, cul de sac, without any outlet other than the entrance. Here was the lowest lodging houses in London, inhabited by the various classes of thieves common to large cities were banded together.
  3. Holmes walked over his parlor windows that over looked Baker Street watched the late afternoon parade of humanity and industry for a short time, then turned to me and announced “Watson we shall have to ask Mr. Wells to come and visit us again and give us a full and complete disclosure of what he truly knows of this matter.”