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Aoife

Witty Little Knitter

I read fantasy, crime, true crime, lgbt-romance and books written by my favourite comedians. List not necessarily complete.
Sometimes I write for Bibliodaze

Currently reading

Stephen and Matilda
Jim Bradbury
Progress: 52/262 pages
Krieg und Frieden
Michael Grusemann, Leo Tolstoy
Progress: 579/1024 pages
A Study in Lavender: Queering Sherlock Holmes - 'Joseph R.G. DeMarco',  'J.R. Campbell',  'Elka Cloke',  'William P. Coleman',  'Michael G. Cornelius',  'Lyn C.A. Gardner',  'Rajan Khanna',  'Vincent Kovar',  'Stephen Osborne',  'Katie Raynes' The stories:The Adventure of the Bloody Coins: A story in which Mycroft is a suspect and Holmes helps him. Somehow too short too say much about it. Occassionally with short-stories I have the feeling to read a first draft and not a completed story and this was one of these cases. The crime got solved pretty quickly and everything seemed a bit superficial. That's a shame because I think if it had been a bit longer and the relationship between Sherlock and Mycroft had gotten more depth I would have loved this story.The Case of the Wounded Heart: This story focusses on Lestrade. It's not told by Watson but by a third-person narrator and Watson has just a short speaking-role, Holmes none at all (though he's still present). I really liked this one, well-written and giving a whole new side to Lestrade without making his personality in this story clash with the one in the original canon.The Kidnapping of Alice Braddon: Here no canon character is gay but during the cause of the investigation it turns out that it involves a lesbian. I don't think I can say too much about it, it's a good Holmes-pastiche, nothing more but also nothing less.Court of Honour: I feel everything I'd say about this story would spoil too much. I did enjoy it as it dealt with a side of Holmes that had occasionally be alluded to in canon but not too often (that what's justice and what's legal aren't neccessarily always the same thing).The Well-Educated Young Man: With this story I had various issues. One day Holmes and Watson meet a young man who turns out to be gay. He also tells about his life-story and how he was abused by an older man over years. Watson's first reaction is that this man turned the boy gay but he immediately explains that this is not connected at all. So far so good. But then Holmes tries to find this man, manages and saves a second boy from his clutches. That boy - oh wonder - is gay, too. Great that we cleared up that being sexually abused won't make you gay. It just didn't sit right with me, especially because there was no canon-reason why the second boy did need to be gay, too.Now that was not the actualy case, yet, just a kind of introduction. Unfortunately the case itself didn't really convince me, too. You know how Holmes always complains that once he points out to Watson that once he explains to him how he deduced something Watson will immediately cry 'Of course, that's so easy when you say it!'. That's very much my reaction, too. Once Holmes explains something I immediately think that this obviously has to be the only logical solution. Here he explained something and my first reaction was 'Really? You are sure that there is no other possibility?' The case just wasn't just that convincing to me. Besides it also felt as if the author was trying to put too much in a story: at one point the young man says something to Holmes which implies that he is gay, too and Holmes does not deny it. That leads to Watson thinking a lot. He questions Holmes sexuality, shortly also his own...and it all feels very un-Watson-like spending so much time with inner monologes and doubts.So to sum it up: The rest of the stories in this collections actually read like something ACD could have written. This one not at all.The Bride and the Bachelors: Another good story (told by Holmes this time) and another where I don't want to spoil too much.The Adventure of the Hidden Lane: My least favourite story. First of all because I don't think it belongs in a Sherlock Holmes-collection. It's not set in the Holmes-universe, the narrator works as secretary for Conan Doyle for a while before he changes to a more promising career of serial-killer. Now I felt that the connection to Doyle wasn't really that strong. Yes the narrator mentiones reading a lot of Holmes-stories but overall I felt that you could have replaced Doyle with any other famous man from that time or just a random fictional character and it wouldn't have made a difference.Apart from that: If I'm reading a first person narration by a serial-killer I want to feel something...hatred, pitty, fascination...anything. Here I just felt 'meh' and thought 'after watching so many Criminal Minds-episodes I can't believe that any self-respecting serial-killer would act in the way you do'.Whom God destroys. Good...though I had some problems with the fact that overall it is much darker than the average Holmes-stories but in the end everything was full of rainbows and unicorns again.The adventure of the Unidentifyed Flying Object: Despite my deep dislike for any UFO-stories I was OK with this one. It was another good pastiche and added some interesting insights into the relationship between Holmes and Watson.The Adventure of the Poesy ring: Now first of all: Many of the stories in this volume start with some words by Watson about how this story can't be published in his lifetime because of scandals for the involved people and blah. OK. If you want to add this I'm fine with it...but could you just keep it short? I don't need one page of rambling about this. A paragraph would be enough...and on the topic of shortness: I think there should be a limit to how long kissing-scenes are allowed to be...almost two pages is defenitely too much and is just somewhat riddiculous. (So, yeah...I have already told you that this story is narrated by Watson so now you can take a good guess on whom he's kissing).For me there was just a bit too much rambling going on in the story. The plotting itself was fine.Overall a nice collection...though I must say the reason that it got the fourth star was the highly informative introduction about the Holmes-Watson relationship. It made some really interesting points (like that some of the places that got mentioned in the story and which Holmes claimed to know well were "homosexual cruising areas") and also asks weather we should question Holmes' sexuality at all (as the volume exists the editor's answer is obviously 'yes').I also quite liked how the 'different Watsons' in the story dealt with the subject. He is never downright homophobic but in two stories it gets clear that up until that point he had just accepted society's opinion without questioning it much. In other stories he is more open (including one where he recalls an amusing anecdote from his time as doctor that shows he really can't be surprised by anything).