It’s (Always) Sherlock Season!

I have many favourite Sherlocks: literary, media, old and new, not the least being Cumberbatch, who I sincerely hope plays Mr Holmes, husband of Mary Russell, as written by Laurie King. The original Sherlock Holmes, the fictional English detective extraordinaire, was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887 (A Study in Scarlet) and has never died. This legendary figure lives on in current literature, television and movies. I have especially liked many of the modern takes, including the short stories of King and Klinger. Each collection has had spectacular tales by some of the best writers of our time: (King, Klinger, Connolly, Bradley, Gaiman, …) Indeed, each volume I couldn’t wait to see who wrote another installment! Every volume has a fascinating, charming, unsettling story for everyone, so don’t miss them. 
Title: Echoes of Sherlock eds Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
Publisher: Pegasus Crime

Genre: mystery, thriller fiction, series, short stories, 

5+ stars

Authors:

Laurie R King is a best selling author of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, SanFran homicide inspector Kate Martinelli mysteries, as well as highly recommended stand alone suspense novels. She has been nominated for and won many awards for her writing, (including a Nero for A Monstrous Regiment of Women, (Russell/Sherlock) and a MacCavity for Touchstone, one of my favourite mysteries). Recently, she was awarded an Agatha for best historical 2015 Dreaming Spies! The first Russell/Sherlock is The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (1994). 

Leslie Klinger is an American attorney and writer AND an eminent literary editor and annotator, particularly of the Sherlock Holmes Canon. His New Annotated Sherlock Holmes won an Edgar (the annual Edgar Allan Poe awards). Both King and Klinger are Baker Street Irregulars. They have edited three collections of stories inspired by the canon. The previous book in this series In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Tales Inspired by the Holmes Canon, won both the Anthony and the Silver Falchion awards for “Best Anthology”.

Story line:

This is the third editorial collaboration of Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger of newly commissioned tales from somewhere in the Sherlock Holmes tradition or canon. Like the previous collections, A Study in Sherlock: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon and In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon, this edition has 18 short stories, memorable, wonderful, intriguing and suspenseful. There are two that didn’t appeal to me but most have widely different takes, so I would recommend reading one or two an evening, savouring each gem. Too many at once dims the appreciation of these unique stories. Enjoy the different takes in Victorian life, fresh imagination, reflections of current Holmes/Watson (PSTD) with complex cases and nasty villains. They all pale in comparison to John Connolly’s (soon to be award winning!) contribution. I have absolute favourites in each of these three volumes and would love to have them in a best of volume! My top three would be Connolly, Alexander, Perry, followed closely by David Morrell, Dana Cameron. Indeed I will be reading more of some of these authors. Several left me wanting to turn the page for continued story. Continue the anthology please! Keep the new stories and varied authors coming. I had no idea so many people would like to try their hand at Holmes.

Read on

A Study in Sherlock: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon and In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon. 

Caleb Carr The Italian Secretary

Anthony Horowitz The House of Silk, Moriarity

Laurie R King Mary Russell series

Alan Bradley Flavia deLuce series

Jasper Fforyde Eyre Affair Tuesday Next series

Quotes:

All of which only goes to prove that when one is dealing with Sherlock Holmes, a man “who never lived and so can never die,” physics goes out the window.

Holmes on The Range by John Connolly is both my favourite and the best of this collection. It extends his Edgar award winning novella The Caxton Private Lending Library 2014 in Night Music. Don’t forget to read his first set of unsettling supernatural short stories Nocturne.

The history of the Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository has not been entirely without incident, as befits an institution of seemingly infinite space inhabited largely by fictional characters who have found their way into the physical realm.

Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository was established as a kind of rest home for the great, the good and, occasionally, the not-so-good-but-definitely-memorable, of literature, all supported by rounding up the prices on books by a ha’penny a time.

“I don’t profess to be an expert in every field,” he replied. “I have little interest in literature, philosophy, or astronomy, and a negligible regard for the political sphere. I remain confident in the fields of chemistry and the anatomical sciences, and, as you have pointed out, can hold my own in geology and botany, with particular reference to poisons.”

“It’s not the way I was written. I’m written as a criminal mastermind who comes up with baroque, fiendish plots. It’s against my nature even to walk down the street in a straight line.

Believe me, I’ve tried. I have to duck and dive so much that I get dizzy.”

“By the way, is my archnemesis here?” asked Holmes. “I’m not expecting him,” said Mr. Headley. “You know, he never seemed entirely real.”

He then returned to the bowels—or attic—of the library, and found that it had begun to create suitable living quarters for Holmes and Watson based on Paget’s illustrations, and Watson’s descriptions, of the rooms at 221B Baker Street.

The Spiritualist by David Morrell (where Conan Doyle gets a ghostly visit from Holmes full of family history)

But the great actor, William Gillette, used it as a prop when he portrayed me on stage. It looks more dramatic than an ordinary straight pipe.”

Raffa by Anne Perry is a lovely, charming tale of a 9 year old who needs Sherlock.

He drew in his breath to try to explain to her that he was Marcus St. Giles, playing Sherlock Holmes on television.

Her wide blue eyes did not waver from his. The trust in them was terrifying. Was the real Sherlock Holmes ever faced with . . . but now he was being idiotic.

There was no ‘real’ Sherlock Holmes! “That sounds about right,”

“The things we love matter, whatever they are,” 

“I think you are a lot nicer for real than you are in the stories that Dr Watson writes about you.”

The Crown Jewel Affair by Michael Scott

This once-elegant street was now the cancer at the heart of Dublin, the second city of the British Empire. Crime, perversion and disease were rampant and it was ruled by a series of terrifying women:…

“Mr. Corcoran, there are more whores in this city than in London and Manchester combined. That is because we are a garrison city, a port city. We have English regiments training in the Royal Barracks and on the Curragh, and the quays are busy with British warships and merchantmen from around the world. All those soldiers and sailors are looking for relief.

The Case of The Speckled Trout by Deborah Crombie

I’d never been north of the Border, so as the train gathered speed out of Edinburgh’s Waverly Station I looked out the window with interest.

While I was trying to decide whether I had sold myself into Dickensian slavery—or was destined to be a Scottish Jane Eyre, stuck on the moor with a dour master and a mad wife—the road ran downhill and we were again in the land of green glens and burbling streams

Cooking, it turned out, was only chemistry.

The Adventure of The Empty Grave by Jonathan Maberry (Watson meets Dupin, the first fictional detective of EA Poe)

Dupin was clearly possessed some of the same intellectual qualities as my late friend, but he also had a fair few of the less appealing habits that apparently are part and parcel. Superiority and condescension, not the least.

Received as an ARC ebook from Netgalley, as well as purchased hardcover. Available from Rochester Public Library (and as Ebooks).