A Baker Street dozen of Sherlockian short stories with an unusual pedigree.
Between 1945 and 1947, radio writer Denis Green and novelist/reviewer Anthony Boucher collaborated on some 60 half-hour Sherlock Holmes radio programs. Now veteran Jeffers, no mean Sherlockian himself, has adapted 13 of them. None of the resulting stories, told from Watson’s point of view, is major work. Green, who supplied the dialogue, achieves a close approximation of Watson’s voice but is less successful with Holmes’s. And plot-builder Boucher, whose own mystery novels were more notable for warmth than mystification, rarely leaves much doubt whodunit. But if few of these tales end with a bang, many of them plant unexpected surprises in the middle, like the purpose of the sealed compartment in “The Paradol Chamber” and the inferences Holmes makes in “The Clue of the Hungry Cat.” “The Adventure of the Stuttering Ghost” and “The Adventure of Maltree Abbey” both provide ciphers for Holmes to solve, and “The Accidental Murderess” and “The Book of Tobit” both feature serial wives who may also be serial killers. Jeffers’s most noteworthy contribution is a series of padded opening sections that rehash canonical Holmes adventures and plug Jeffers’s own Holmes–Theodore Roosevelt pastiche (The Adventure of the Stalwart Companions, 1978).
The original radio scripts might have stood better on their own.