Reading "Mazarin Stone" can sound very much like a bad stage play in your head, at first, and for good reason. It seemed a lot like the mini-novelization of the play Watson's agent wrote called "The Crown Diamond." Billy the page shows up for the first time since the 1880s, simply because Dr. Watson, unable to narrate, has to have someone to talk to before Sherlock Holmes shows up. And since Sherlock Holmes is supposed to be in bed sleeping at seven on a bright summer evening . . . but perhaps that's just a nap.
When Sherlock Holmes does show up, though, there's a snap to his dialogue that saves the tale from being dull. And what goes on in this case . . . well, it really isn't a mystery that needs solving. It's just Sherlock Holmes messing with people. Whether it's Billy, the villains, or the client, Sherlock is all about toying with the normals in this tale.
And after a bout of that, and Watson being sent to get the police, as he had Hall Pycroft do at the end of today's other summer tale, "Stock-broker's Clerk," Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson sit down for a nice dinner prepared by Mrs. Hudson at 221B. So in a way, one could see both "Clerk" and "Stone" as cases where Holmes and Watson getting a chance just to hang out was a key feature of the case. One could make a case for this being the "Red-Headed League/Empty House" rerun combo pack, but we're just getting into the lazy days of summer and need more relaxing cases to ease into the season.
So go have dinner with a close companion, or just mess with the regular folk a bit. The Summer of Sherlock continues.