Whatever the reason—maybe something off in the mince pie or the plum pudding—these 11 Sherlockian Yuletides tap the same vein as Holmes for the Holidays (1996), but to less effect. Most of the stories rely on clever concepts unsuccessfully carried out. It’s nice to see Holmes reeling in celebrity clients like Oscar Wilde (Bill Crider), Charles Darwin (Jon L. Breen), O.Henry (Daniel Stashower), and Tiny Tim (Carolyn Wheat), but the mysteries they offer are anemic or trivial, as are other routine cases by Peter Lovesey, Barbara Paul, and Loren D. Estleman. No one gets Watson’s voice quite right, though Anne Perry and L.B. Greenwood offer acceptably Victorian substitutes. Edward D. Hoch’s Erskine Childers fantasy is the most ingenious of the bunch, and Tanith Lee’s family curse, though overlong and uneven, throws a challenging new light on the great man. On the evidence, however, the editors might consider giving Holmes next Christmas off.