Thursday, November 10, 2005

New Sherlock Holmes Adventures, edited by Mike Ashley

New Sherlock Holmes Adventures, edited by Mike Ashley

I have always liked Sherlock Holmes, ever since I found the Baker Street Irregular series when I was a kid. So, when I came across this anthology of new Holmes tales written by modern authors lying in the bargain bin, I picked it up. The stories range from mediocre (The Affray at the Kildare Street Club by Peter Tremayne) to simply awful (The Adventure of the Bulgarian Diplomat by Zakaria Erzinçlioglu). Some of the worst cliches of fan fiction are found here: Holmes meets H. G. Wells in The Adventure of the Inertial Adjustor (by Stephen Baxter), sniffs with derision at Thomas Edison for taking credit for inventing the movie projector in The Enigma of the Warwickshire Vortex (by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre), and mentions his friendship with the Curie family in more than one story. Despite the banality, though, there was one great idea that permeated the collection. The editor wrote a preface and brief introduction to each entry that told the story as if Holmes and Watson were real and this book was a compilation of research into the cases Watson never published. He goes as far as to mention how and where the various authors discovered the notes from which the case was detailed — fairly amusing. There is an excellent appendix as well that details not only when and where all the Conan Doyle stories were published, but provides a lengthy list of other “apocryphal” Holmes stories as well. Some of these sound quite interesting; if nothing else the New Sherlock Holmes Adventures should give me some good reading in the future.

First Sentence (from the introduction):
For more years than I care to remember I have been researching the life of the first and best known of all private consulting detectives, Mr Sherlock Holmes.

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