The Seven-Percent Solution: 100% fun

Sherlock with his pipe,hat, and tweed coat
Detail from David K. Stone’s cover illustration for The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is a twentieth century addendum to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, written by Dr. Watson with “editing” by Nicholas Meyer.

After he marries, Watson doesn’t see much of Holmes. One evening in April, 1891, when Watson’s wife is away, Holmes drops in, looking ill, behaving oddly, talking wildly.

Watson rightly suspects Holmes is addicted to cocaine.

Hearing that a Dr. Sigmund Freud in Vienna might be able to help, Watson invents a tale that lures Holmes to Vienna where Freud breaks Holmes of his addiction.

Holmes and Watson go along when Freud consults on a case of an attempted suicide.

Under hypnosis, the woman says she’s Nancy Slater Von Leinsdorf, wife of the recently deceased munitions king, Baron Von Leinsdorf. Holmes deduces she’s been held captive by the Baron’s no-good son and heir.

Under suspicion, the dastardly new Baron grabs his stepmother, shoves her in a trunk, and takes off by train for Germany.

Holmes foresees millions killed if the new Baron isn’t prevented from selling arms to Germany, so he Watson, and Freud commission a special train and steam off in hot pursuit.

It’s all delightful fun, even for those who are not Sherlock Holmes fans.

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution:
Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of
John H. Watson, M.D.
By Nicholas Meyer
W. W. Norton ©1974 [paper] 221 p.
1974 bestseller #9. My Grade: B+.

Cover illustration by David K. Stone on plastic-encased library copy of The Seven-Percent-Solution did not photograph well. As the saying goes, the book is better.

© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni

 

Hound of the Baskervilles Sniffs Out Wide Audience

When Sir Charles is found dead outside Baskerville Hall, his doctor notices dog tracks near the body. Locals recall the legend of the huge hound who kills Baskervilles who venture onto the moors at night.

Sherlock Holmes discovers the new lord, Sir Henry, is being watched. Holmes sends Dr. Watson to Devonshire with orders to report regularly and not to let Sir Henry wander out alone.

When Sir Henry falls for the sister of a local naturalist, Holmes finds Sir Henry prefers her company to his, which makes being a body-guard difficult.

Of all the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales about Sherlock Holmes, only The Hound of the Baskervilles is achieved bestseller status in its day. Oddly enough, it’s a story in which Holmes is mostly off stage.

What is on stage is the atmosphere. The moors are inhospitable, sucking to their deaths any unwary traveler who misses his footing in the fog. Baskerville Hall is a gloomy place of creaky floors and lugubrious ancestral portraits. And with an escaped convict on the loose, even Watson is spooked when he hears the howl of a hound at night.

Just as in 1902, The Hound‘s mix of mystery, romance, and the supernatural will appeal to a diverse audience today.

The Hound of the Baskervilles
Arthur Conan Doyle
1902 Bestseller #7
Project Gutenberg ebook #2852
© 2012 Linda Gorton Aragoni