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2014 Story 91

From Titan Books' Tales of the Wold Newton Universe, edited by Win Scott Eckert and Christoper Paul Carey

91. THE PROBLEM OF THE SORE BRIDGE -- AMONG OTHERS by Harry Manders, edited by Philip Jose Farmer.  During Farmer's "fictional author" phase (which kicked off with Farmer writing the novel Venus On The Half-Shell under the pen name of Kilgore Trout, Kurt Vonnegut's perhaps most famous character), Farmer took on the voice and guise of a number of famous (and not so) literary characters.  In this set of three interlocked stories, he writes as Harry "Bunny" Manders, the aide-de-camp to gentleman burglar A.J. Raffles.

The conceit is that this tale of Raffles involvement in three of Sherlock Holmes' most famous unsolved cases (with or without Holmes' knowledge, the author leaves for the reader to decide) had to remain unpublished for 50 years due to revelations about how close the world came to the brink of destruction.  There are two things I love about this story: first, the way Farmer so easily slides into Manders' voice, reminiscent of EW Hornung's original Raffles tales without slavish mimicry. Second, the amount of interconnectedness the story holds to Farmer's greater Wold Newton Family and continuity. Farmer always excelled at  answering those questions readers of the original stories have always had ( here, "If Holmes didn't solve those three cases, who did?")  and building, story by story, the great family tree that fascinates so many of us.  This story is just a fun romp through Victorian mystery, with a hint of Lovecraftian horror and Vernian sci-fi thrown in for good measure.

(late entry back-dated to keep the "one story per day" format of the community)

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