A Preface to the Revised Version.
I have been correcting a few typographical errors and the like, and consider that it might be as well to put in a little word of warning at the start of the book. The thing is that, while most reviews have been good, some people have read it and complained that it didn’t read like the work of Arthur Conan Doyle. One of them, a Mr. Handspicker, even called it “a bad pastiche, but…. a pretty good story.” So perhaps it’s worth warning prospective readers that this isn’t actually a pastiche, but an attempt to do something different with the beloved character of Sherlock Holmes.
I thought something like the following might do. What do my readers think?
THE BOOK which you are holding is indeed (as its title-page declares) ‘a novel of Sherlock Holmes’, but it is not a pastiche—which is to say that it was not composed in imitation of the canonical narratives supposedly written by Dr. Watson. The Doctor plays little part in this story, and the point of view throughout is that of Sherlock Holmes himself.
This story shows Holmes as a real man, living in the real world of late Victorian Britain, and it contains much that Dr. Watson would have considered unsuitable for publication: conversations about sex, philosophy, and politics, for example—not to mention a dénouement which would have seemed too disturbing for Victorian readers, and may still have the power to shock.
Read the following pages expecting the familiar style of Dr. Watson’s narratives, and you will be disappointed; read them without such expectations, and you may find, as did one perceptive reviewer, that they provide “a new insight into the most private recesses of the mind of Sherlock Holmes.”