Undoubtedly, the greatest detective of literature and the most famous person who ever lived, Sherlock Holmes, will survive even this cannibalization by one of the most brilliant men—and shameless humorists—of our age: Isaac Asimov.

In addition to his prolific science fiction and scholarly works, Asimov is famous (infamous, some would say) for his limericks (he has, somehow, published three volumes of them) and his long association with Holmes (among Baker Street Irregulars, he is referred to as “The Remarkable Worm Unknown to Science”).

There are sixty stories about the legendary detective and each immortal tale serves as the inspiration for an outrageous limerick by the best (well, worst, if the truth be told) punster and rhymer known to Western Man.

Gahan Wilson, the pre-eminent illustrator of the bizarre and macabre, is the only artist who would agree to have anything to do with this collection.

As with Asimov’s other limericks books, this isn’t terribly impressive. Here Asimov writes a limerick summarizing each of the sixty-odd canonical Sherlock Holmes stories, and since the Good Doctor is squeezing plots of varying length and complexity each into a single five-line limerick, the results are often bad poetry or unrecognizable as descriptions of the stories. (Nor do I find the individual limericks terribly witty.) Only the rabid Sherlockian who must own everything regarding the great detective would get much pleasure out of the book, and even they would probably spend all their time grumbling about how Asimov got it wrong.

Don’t waste time on this book. Read Doyle instead.

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