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Arthur and the Great Detective

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Puffin, Harmondsworth, 1981
(first published by Robson Books, 1979)
price: 80p; 64 pages

dedication: For Harriet and Ned

The blurb on the back:

Who has stolen a valuable manuscript from Gilbert and Sullivan aboard the SS Murgtroyd? Could it be the half-crazed Duchess of Cricklewood, Scarlet 'Orace, the Tattooed Steward or the Singing Lifeboat?
Arthur, the intrepid schoolboy detective, joins forces with Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to solve one of the most bafflingly odd crimes that ever took place.

opening lines:
Once upon a time, about a hundred years ago, in the very middle of the black and wintry Atlantic Ocean, rolled a ship.

The Little Detective Well y'all know Alan Coren from his work on Radio Four and possibly even from his time editing Punch. And here he is with a kids' book about a great boy detective.

And it's good fun, both as children's fiction and as a piece of Holmesian marginalia. We've got Holmes and Watson and Lestrade, with Gilbert & Sullivan thrown in for good measure. No great surprises, but I like the depiction of Watson as being interested only in eating as much as possible.

Lively, brief and literate. What more do you want?

Pipe rating:

from the maker of...

The Further Bulletins of Idi Amin
sherlock holmes