Sunday, February 16, 2014

August Derleth. The Memoirs of Solar Pons (1930-51)

     August Derleth. The Memoirs of Solar Pons (1930-51) Foreword by Luther Norris. Derleth, a professor at the University of Wisconsin and minor US novelist, was an admirer and imitator of Conan Doyle. His Solar Pons is one of the best pastiches of the inestimable detective. The stories work well as puzzles, although the occasional Americanisms can jar, and the style is often too florid and elaborately Victorian for my taste. Doyle wrote in a middle-high register, very difficult to imitate, since it is marked primarily by vocabulary, not syntax. Another’s lexicon is the most difficult of all to imitate. On the whole, a good read, but not a keeper for anyone other than a serious student of Holmesiana. Which I do not aspire to be. Derleth admired the tediously overwrought fantasy of H. P. Lovecraft. I think his own detective stories are better done. See Wikipedia's article on Derleth for more. **½ (2010)

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