A Baker Street dozen of "new" cases featuring the imperishable sleuth.
Dr. Watson's crisp introduction sets the stage by explaining an unexpected inheritance that enabled the pair to travel to the continent, where most of the adventures take place. The opening story, "An Affair in Ravello," though set in Italy, centers on a pair of British matrons, features a Middle Eastern suspect, and ends with a smattering of German. "The Death of Mycroft Holmes" shows the sleuthing duo traveling back and forth from Austria to England in the wake of the death of Holmes' brother, an invaluable employee of The Foreign Office. The novella-length "A Death in Venice," an eerie tale of poisoning and obsession, features Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. Another long story, "The Case of the Vermilion Face," begins in Holmes' comfy Baker Street digs, but takes the duo to Rome and features an interview with the Pope. "The Case of the Missing Lodger" and "The Case of the Plangent Colonel," set in London and Rome, respectively, are more traditionally tidy Holmes whodunits, though the latter includes a letter to Holmes by Charles Darwin. The collection closes with the more introspective "The Mountain of Fear," in which Holmes uncharacteristically shares secrets from his past as a means to solving a baffling mystery in the present.
Riccardi (The Oriental Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, 2003) brings variety and clever roman à clef strokes to this volume while maintaining the core charm and panache of the Holmes oeuvre.