Though the level of inspiration in individual stories varies widely, every fan will find different reasons to cheer. And...




“Inspired” is the key word here, for contributors have been encouraged to interpret their remit even more broadly than in the editors’ previous two collections (In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, 2014, etc.).

John Connolly sets the tone by confronting Holmes and Watson, enshrined in a magical library after Holmes’ death, with their inferior post-Reichenbach avatars. David Morrell, Jonathan Maberry, and William Kent Krueger walk similar metafictional tightropes when they arrange debates between Arthur Conan Doyle and a spectral Holmes over spiritualism, bring C. Auguste Dupin to console Watson at Holmes’ empty grave, and present a child-psychologist Watson providing therapy to a boy who believes he’s Sherlock Holmes. Other contributors briskly update the Great Detective. Meg Gardiner’s sleuth investigates a breach in computer security; Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Annabelle Holmes follows a trail of pictogram emails to a missing fiancee; Gary Phillips’ Sherlock, in a rayon shirt and bell-bottoms, investigates the assassination of an iconic civil rights leader; Cory Doctorow explores the problem of a conscience-driven leaker of secret intelligence. Meanwhile, back in the Victorian era, Tasha Alexander sketches a deft and funny prequel to “A Scandal in Bohemia,” Dana Cameron’s free-wheeling Watson recounts Holmes’ search for a hidden legacy, and Tony Lee and Bevis Musson give Mrs. Hudson a thimble-sized comic-book case more notable for visual style than narrative invention. Sherlock is channeled by Catriona McPherson’s lady’s maid, Deborah Crombie’s cheeky goddaughter Sherry Watson, Anne Perry’s TV Holmes, Denise Mina’s not-a-witch Shirley, and Michael Scott’s Dublin madam, who assists the police in their investigation of a celebrated real-life theft. Although most of these tales are more notable for their high concepts than the ways they’re worked out, Hallie Ephron’s tale of a movie actress who once played Irene Adler and is now understudying a much younger Irene is a delight from beginning to end.

Though the level of inspiration in individual stories varies widely, every fan will find different reasons to cheer. And they’ll all marvel at the inventive range of this salute to the greatest of all fictional detectives.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68177-225-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.


Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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The racism, classism, and sexism of 50 years ago wrapped up in a stylish, sexy, suspenseful period drama about a newsroom...

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Baltimore in the 1960s is the setting for this historical fiction about a real-life unsolved drowning.

In her most ambitious work to date, Lippman (Sunburn, 2018, etc.) tells the story of Maddie Schwartz, an attractive 37-year-old Jewish housewife who abruptly leaves her husband and son to pursue a long-held ambition to be a journalist, and Cleo Sherwood, an African-American cocktail waitress about whom little is known. Sherwood's body was found in a lake in a city park months after she disappeared, and while no one else seems to care enough to investigate, Maddie becomes obsessed—partly due to certain similarities she perceives between her life and Cleo's, partly due to her faith in her own detective skills. The story unfolds from Maddie's point of view as well as that of Cleo's ghost, who seems to be watching from behind the scenes, commenting acerbically on Maddie's nosing around like a bull in a china shop after getting a job at one of the city papers. Added to these are a chorus of Baltimore characters who make vivid one-time appearances: a jewelry store clerk, an about-to-be-murdered schoolgirl, "Mr. Helpline," a bartender, a political operative, a waitress, a Baltimore Oriole, the first African-American female policewoman (these last two are based on real people), and many more. Maddie's ambition propels her forward despite the cost to others, including the family of the deceased and her own secret lover, a black policeman. Lippman's high-def depiction of 1960s Baltimore and the atmosphere of the newsroom at that time—she interviewed associates of her father, Baltimore Sun journalist Theo Lippman Jr., for the details—ground the book in fascinating historical fact.The literary gambit she balances atop that foundation—the collage of voices—works impressively, showcasing the author's gift for rhythms of speech. The story is bigger than the crime, and the crime is bigger than its solution, making Lippman's skill as a mystery novelist work as icing on the cake.

The racism, classism, and sexism of 50 years ago wrapped up in a stylish, sexy, suspenseful period drama about a newsroom and the city it covers.

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-239001-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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