22 Dec 2015



BACK COVER BLURB: This volume contains two adventures which pit the gentleman thief Arsène Lupin against Sherlock Holmes, the world’s most famous detective. In ‘The Blonde Lady’, Holmes must discover the identity of a mysterious female thief who is linked to Lupin, while in ‘The Jewish Lamp’ he finds out that the theft of a lamp containing a precious jewel conceals an astonishing secret.

While their tone is at times ironic and firmly tongue-in-cheek, the two stories in Arsène Lupin vs Sherlock Holmes bear all the hallmarks of classic detective fiction, and will put a smile on the lips and set the pulses racing of all fans of mystery and detective fiction.

{First Episode: The Blonde Lady: Chapter 1}: On the 8th of December last year, M. Gerbois, a teacher of mathematics at the Versailles secondary school, discovered among the jumble of things in an old curiosity shop a small mahogany writing desk which he liked on account of its large number of drawers. 
{Episode Two: The Jewish Lamp: Chapter 1}: Herlock Sholmes and Wilson were sitting either side of the great fireplace, with their legs stretched out towards a comfortable coke fire.

There was the gleaming handle of a steel stiletto not far from the corpse. The blade was dripping with blood. Across the mattress a handkerchief was hanging, stained with red marks.

SOURCE: Another book added to the publishers Junior Collection for children and young adults. Arsène Lupin vs Sherlock Holmes was received for review from Alma Books.

MY THOUGHTS: Not a book I'd normally have picked up. I admit to being out of my comfort zone as it were when I agreed to read this.

Beginning with an introduction from the translator, David Carter. Something I would have done well to read before beginning the book as it certainly made one or two things - just why was Sherlock Holmes referred to as Herlock Sholmes, Watson as Wilson and  221b Baker Street as 219 Parker Street? - that bit clearer. The book, as is typical of this collection, ends with extra material for young readers which includes details about the writer, the characters, a quiz and glossary.

Two stories for the price of one. This particular edition features 'The Blonde Lady' and, the shorter novella, 'The Jewish Lamp'. Originally published in a magazine, the former story in 1906/7, the latter in 1907.

Unfamiliar to me, whilst I had read one of the 'newly imagined' Sherlock Holmes novels and am of course familiar with Holmes and Watson through the various screen adaptations, I had never come across Arsène Lupin. Something that may or may not have contributed to marring my enjoyment of the book (I strongly suspect it did) in that I had no real sense of just who Lupin was nor what his background was.

I was also disappointed that Holmes/Sholmes appeared very little in The Blonde Woman and when he did it seemed to me as a very much over the top (dare I say almost caricature?) character. Not something that I minded per se (after all I'm no huge fan and LeBlanc's Holmes and Watson were after all written as a parody) but I just didn't think he was a great foil for Lupin in the same way that Moriarty is for him. 

Featured more in The Jewish Lamp though sadly the same can't be said of Watson who was largely replaced by Monsieur/Inspector Ganimard. This shorter story was however slightly more to my taste in that at least I didn't find it quite as incredulous.

Perhaps not the best introduction to LeBlanc's work or maybe just not the book for me. Either way I'm afraid I was left totally underwhelmed.


Literary Feline said...

It's too bad Lupin didn't stand well on his own in this book without knowing his backstory. That would bother me to. I haven't read too many Sherlock Holmes books. Just one, actually. I have watched a few of the screen adaptations, but that in no way qualifies me as an expert.

Suko said...

Tracy, I appreciate for your honesty about this book, "two stories for the price of one". I'm sorry you were totally underwhelmed.

Brian Joseph said...

I never read any Sherlock Holmes books. I would want to read some of the originals before I read any of the contemporary updates.

I had heard that the Anthony Horowitz books were very good.

Kelly said...

I've only read one Sherlock Holmes story, though I've seen several on film. All that aside , I don't think this really appeals to me, especially given your comments about it.

So many books, so little time said...

I never really read Sherlock Holmes and I don't think this one would be for me either. Thanks for sharing, always interesting to hear others thoughts!

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

At least you tried something out of your comfort zone. I need to do that more.

Happy Holiday!

Trac~ said...

Happy holidays my friend! Or Merry Christmas if you celebrate it! We are off tomorrow to see our new little grandson again - can't wait!! :) xoxoxo

Lily B said...

humm... not really sure how to feel about this one, i loved the original

Alexia561 said...

Sorry that this one wasn't to your liking. I've never been much of a Sherlock Holmes fan to begin with, so doubt this one's for me either. Hope your next read is more to your liking!

The Bookworm said...

That's too bad this was a letdown.

Gina R said...

Hmm...odd, isn't it? One would expect to see Holmes and Watson in the story more so than others...