The Memoirs of Schlock Homes by Robert L. Fish

Book Review : The Memoirs of Schlock Homes

By Robert L. Fish

  • Publication Date: 2015-04-07
  • Genre: British Detectives

Book Review

Back from the brink of death, Homes tackles eleven baffling mysteries in his own peculiar style

When Dr. Watney last saw Schlock Homes, the great detective was flinging himself over a waterfall. Since then, Watney has lived quietly at 221B Bagel Street, mourning the death of the most unique detective the world had ever known. That all changes on the day Homes comes back from the dead. His fall was just a ruse, he announces, and it is time to get back to work. In such classic tales as “The Adventure of the Hansom Ransom” and “The Adventure of the Big Plunger,” Homes and Watney chase the most ingenious criminals of the age—and never come close to catching them.

These immaculate pastiches of the great detective’s adventures are far more than mere parody. In Schlock Homes, Robert L. Fish has created a character for the ages: a detective who understands that brilliance means knowing you’re right—even if the whole world disagrees.

“Unpardonably and outrageously funny . . . Small masterpieces of adroit and outrageous plotting.” —Anthony Boucher on the Bagel Street Mysteries

Robert L. Fish, the youngest of three children, was born on August 21, 1912, in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended the local schools in Cleveland and went to Case University (now Case Western Reserve), from which he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He married Mamie Kates, also from Cleveland, and together they have two daughters. Fish worked as a civil engineer, traveling and moving throughout the United States. In 1953 he was asked to set up a plastics factory in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He and his family moved to Brazil, where they remained for nine years. He played golf and bridge in the little spare time he had. One rainy weekend in the late 1950s, when the weather prohibited him from playing golf, he sat down and wrote a short story that he submitted to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. When the story was accepted, Fish continued to write short stories. In 1962 he returned to the United States; he took one year to write full time and then returned to engineering and writing. His first novel, The Fugitive, won an Edgar Award for Best First Mystery. When his health prevented him from pursuing both careers, Fish retired from engineering and spent his time writing. His published works include more than forty books and countless short stories. Mute Witness was made into a movie starring Steve McQueen.

Fish died February 23, 1981, at his home in Connecticut. Each year at the annual Mystery Writers of America dinner, a memorial award is presented in his name for the best first short story. This is a fitting tribute, as Fish was always eager to assist young writers with their craft.

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