Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (gamebook)
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Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a game published by Sleuth Publications in 1981.
Premise and gameplay
In the game, the players (or play) reads a brief introduction to a case, then decides where to look for clues, and consults a booklet telling what clues are found at that location. When a player believes he or she knows the details of the case, the player moves on to the quiz book and answers questions about the case. Players earn points by answering questions correctly, but loses points for each location visited beforehand.
The game is made up of booklets, maps, a clue-filled reproduction of The Times and a small directory telling the player which London locale to visit to speak to a character. Lacking a board, it functions as a hybrid between a traditional gamebook and a conventional tabletop game.
The game contains ten scenarios and expansion packs The Mansion Murders (1983, containing five adventures), "The Queen's Park Affair" (1984, one adventure over four days), and "Adventures by Gaslight" (1986, one adventure over five days) add additional ones. West End Adventures (1990, containing six adventures) was a stand-alone expansions. Other scenarios, like "Sherlock Holmes & the Baby" (1986) were printed in specialty publications.
The original game was packaged in a paperboard box; the deluxe edition was bound in a leatherette binder.
Gumshoe, the Hardboiled Detective in the Thirties (1985) by the same game designer and publisher has a similar premise. Here, the player assumes the role of a detective in 1930s San Francisco. Clues are found in city maps, mug shots, fingerprints, newspapers and crime reports.
William A. Barton reviewed Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective in Space Gamer No. 71. Barton commented that "the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Game is the best mystery game I've ever had the privilege to be stumped by. After acing most games of Clue or 221B Baker Street with no sweat, it's a refreshing feeling. The folks at Sleuth Publications are to be commended for the effort they put into this game [...] As both a confirmed Sherlockian and a dedicated gamer, I can't recommend this game highly enough. Unless you simply hate mysteries - buy it! Definitely not elementary."
Adaptations and reprints
ICOM Simulations adapted Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective into a video game, also called Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, which they published in 1991. Two sequels followed in 1992 and 1993, respectively.
Ystari Games published a French version of the game in 2011. The book was translated into English in 2012 and subsequently reprinted in 2015. Ystari has released expansions, some newly written by French authors and others taken from The Queen's Park Affair and The Mansion Murders sets.
Space Cowboys has published a series of three standalone Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective games with separate sets of 10 cases, which includes revised versions of older cases. These are "Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures" [West End Adventures], "The Thames Murders and Others" [original 10 cases], and "Carlton House and Queen's Park" [Mansion Murders and Queen's Park Affair]. A further set, Baker Street Irregulars, with new cases is coming soon.