Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Peerless Peer by Philip Jose Farmer

I usually review nonfiction books on this blog (a likely cause of no one reading it). Sometimes I read a fiction book that I enjoy so much, I comment on it anyway.

The Peerless Peer is such a book. Philip Jose Farmer brings together Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan in the heart of Africa. Holmes and Watson are on a mission to retrieve a formula that could change the course of World War I by destroying all the fish and chips. Along the way, Holmes sorts out certain points of the Greystoke family history that are “wrong” in the sensational jungle king novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Farmer throws in cameos and name-dropping of a host of popular and pulp heroes. On their first two, back-to-back airplane flights, Holmes and Watson have the mixed blessings of being piloted by G-8 (possibly The Spider) and The Shadow. They obviously meet Tarzan, and unexpectedly meet the daughter of Allan Quatermain. Along the way, they interact with Henry Merrivale and Gideon Fell. As a player of The Game, Farmer describes how Watson’s previously unpublished manuscript came to him through a chain of provenance that included Lord Peter Wimsey.

If you’re looking for a short, fun, pulpy, nostalgic novel, this will do. It is fun.

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