Kirkus Reviews QR Code


Stories Inspired by the Holmes Cannon

edited by Laurie R. King, Leslie S. Klinger

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8129-8246-6
Publisher: Bantam

King (The Art of Detection, 2006, etc.) and Klinger (The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, 2004, etc.) offer a selection of tributes to The Great Detective.

The 17 all-new entries range from homage to pastiche to mere whiffs of the deerstalker. In the comic-book format “The Mysterious Case of the Unwritten Short Story,” Colin Cotterill revels in being asked to contribute to such an important volume despite his complete ignorance of all things Sherlock. (His greatest concern seems to be avoiding “gaffs.”) Others are slicker. In “A Triumph of Logic,” Gayle Lynds and John Sheldon use Holmes proxy Linwood Boothby and his law clerk Artie Morey to prove that Emmy Holcrofts’s niece Ina Lederer did not really commit suicide. Lee Childs’ “The Bone-Headed League” gives the Doyle classic a modern twist, while S.J. Rozan retells Doyle’s tale from the opium-den-owners’ perspective in “The Men With the Twisted Lips.” Margaret Maron elevates Watson to the role of detective in “The Adventure of the Concert Pianist,” complete with Mrs. Hudson as his Watson, while in “The Case That Holmes Lost,” Charles Todd makes Conan Doyle the client, with lawyer John Whitman standing in for Holmes. Both Laura Lippman, in “The Last of Sheila-Locke Holmes,” and Jacqueline Winspear, in “A Spot of Detection,” trace the effect of too much Sherlock on young minds. Post-Holmes technology has its place. Dana Stabenow’s “The Eyak Interpreter” runs as a blog, and King and Klinger’s afterword offers a twitter exchange with King’s invention, Holmes’s wife Mary Russell. But the best stories focus on the universal appeal of Holmes. Tony Broadbent in “As to ‘An Exact Knowledge of London’ ” and Neil Gaiman in “The Case of Death and Honey” both explore the tantalizing question of how Holmes manages to be both fictional and immortal.

Enough variety for the dabbler, together with enough reverence for the canon to appeal to the true Holmes addict.