Mystery / Suspense
Published By: Poisoned Pen Press
Reviewed by Jessica Behrens
A Study in Sherlock Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon is a collection of eighteen short stories with themes connected to the Sir Arthur Conan Doyleís Sherlock Holmes canon. Edited by Leslie S. Klinger, author of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes The Complete Short Stories, and Laurie R. King, author of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series, this anthology features writers who, unlike the editors, donít normally write on this subject, but nonetheless, tackle this topic with consummate skill and ingenuity.
The stories run the gamut of Holmesian themes, structure, and point of view. Some stories are narrated by Watson via his manuscripts, and Mrs. Hudson is featured as the narrator of one and even plays a role in the detection of the villain of the story. My favorite narrative style in this anthology is the alternate telling of Conan Doyleís The Man with the Twisted Lip. S.J. Rozanís The Men with the Twisted Lips is told from the point of view of the owners of several London opium dens, each of whom have a vested business interest in someone getting to the bottom of Mr. St. Clairís disappearance. We see these men orchestrate the actions of the story and in the background, lead Holmes to his discovery of the answer to the mystery.
Plots include a missing priceless Sidney Paget drawing, a concert pianist suspected of poisoning his wife, and in Startling Events in the Electrified City, Holmes receives an intriguing request from a U.S. president. With the help of a member of the famous Booth clan (but not that Booth), Holmes orchestrates an alternative history of the presidentís assassination and keeps it secret from the world (until, of course, Watsonís posthumous publication of the event). Stories that donít feature Holmes directly include sleuths who utilize the masterís methods and style of detection to obtain success in their own mysteries.
While I enjoyed all of the stories in this anthology, my favorite may be Neil Gaimanís contribution, and itís just possible that I let out a little laugh at the end of the story. This first-rate storyteller gives us the perfect explanation for how Holmes lives on for each new generation. No hint to be given though, you must read and enjoy this one yourself.