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Echoes of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon
Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
Review by Gayle Surrette
Pegasus Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781681772257
Date: 04 October 2016 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Publisher's Book Page / Show Official Info /

You may not recognize all the authors, but their stories will remain with you. I didn't find a single clinker. Some were funny. Some were sad. All were interesting and engrossing. I found it best to read them one per night so I could enjoy each one and think about it. To me there seemed to be three distinct types of stories.

Stories involving the original Holmes and/or Watson:

"Holmes on the Range: A Tale of the Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository" by John Connolly. The library is where characters go after they fall out of favor with reader. Holmes and Watson have their own ideas of how to manage their retirement to the consternation of the current librarian.

"The Spiritualist" by David Morrell. Conan Doyle is having nightmares. No one seems to care about his writing on spiritualism and the occult, they want more Sherlock Holmes. Doyle wants proof of life after death. Would the return of Sherlock Holmes be proof enough?

"The Adventure of the Empty Grave" by Jonathan Maberry. Holmes is dead and Watson feels at loose ends. He feels better when visiting Holmes' grave until he meets a man claiming to be C. Auguste Dupin from Paris. His conversation is riddled with riddles. Watson is confused and irritated by this man but should he look deeper?

"The Adventure of the Extraordinary Rendition" by Cory Doctorow. Holmes is upset and needs Watson's help. The times are nearly now and Holmes is concerned about the power concentrated in Mycroft's hands. Information technology is vulnerable and Holmes is beside himself with worry about what could be done in the wrong hands and just who those wrong hands belong to.

Stories featuring the famous duo in one form or another:
"Where There is Honey" by Dana Cameron. Holmes and Watson get a new case just in time because they need the money. They're hired to find a hidden treasure only more than one person has a claim to the treasure. Of course, there's much double dealing, misdirection, and adventure before the last sentence.

"Before a Bohemian Scandal" by Tasha Alexander. Irene Adler before she became that woman to Holmes. Scorning a woman of intelligence and daring is never a good idea.

"The Case of the Speckled Trout" by Deborah Crombie. Sherry Watson's godfather doesn't come to her graduation. Her father says she has to accept that this time he may really be gone. So, she takes a gap year job that seems ideal -- working at an upscale hunting lodge in Scotland. Sherry begins to note the quirks and tics of the guests and spending more time noticing her environment. This effort to note her surroundings really pays off.

"The Adventure of the Dancing Women" by Hank Phillippi Ryan. A female detective team with many of the attributes and similar history to Sherlock and Watson. They are hired by Arthur Daley to find his dance partner and financée. Now she's acting strange and avoiding Arthur. There's more to this case than what meets the eye or so Holmes and Watson learn.

Stories where the skills and deductive abilities of Holmes/Watson are used by others to solve crime:
"Irregular" by Meg Gardiner. Shaz, 16, does odd jobs for Croft Security and often works with Harry, 10 and they are the best at getting in and out of places undetected. They'd checked a building where a woman had committed suicide, or so the cops thought. Then someone seems to come after them. Shaz need to do some deducting to save them both from the killer.

"Mrs. Hudson Investigates" by Tony Lee and Bevis Musson. This is a graphic story where Mrs. Hudson turns her own observations to solving a case.

"Raffa" by Anne Perry. An actor who plays Sherlock Holmes is asked by a young girl to help find her mother. The actor who hates his role of Sherlock Holmes and its lack of true opportunities to display his skill hopes to turn the child over to the proper authorities. But as he asks her questions he gets pulled in and is determined to find and reunite her with her mother. This story really touched my heart.

"The Crown Jewel Affair" by Michael Scott. Katherine Lundy reminisces about her life and in particular when she aided Dermot Corcoran, an Inspector with the Dublin Metropolitan Police, in solving a crime regarding missing jewels.

"Understudy in Scarlet" by Hallie Ephron. Angela Cassano is asked to meet with a director doing a remake of A Scandal in Bohemia. She'd originally played Irene Adler. Imagine her surprise when they offer her the role of Mrs. Hudson and as a stand in for the actress playing Irene Adler. Then things start to go very wrong on the set and Angela has to get to the bottom of things for her own safety.

"Martin X" by Gary Phillips. Professor Lincoln Barrow has been found dead. John "Dock" Watson, private detective, decides to keep his own eyes open because this death is fishy. James Moriarty, from the Mayor's office, hopes that the case can be closed soon. A couple of other names appear for minor characters. An interesting case with lots of twists and turns.

"The Painted Smile" by William Kent Krueger. A psychiatrist finds himself intrigued by a new client, 10 year old Oliver Wendell Holmes who prefers to be known as Sherlock. The child is intelligent but obsessed with Doyle's characters and worried about Moriarty. What's a psychiatrist to do?

"The First Mrs. Coulter" by Catriona McPherson. Miss Codelia Grant is a maid, but she's also an avid reader of the works of Conan Doyle and the movies based on his books. When another maid mentions unclaimed boxes in the attic where she works, Miss Grant is intrigued. She offers to look them over and finds more than she bargained for, but enough to put another woman at her ease.

"Limited Resources" by Denise Mina. The northern-most habitable island in the UK is actually barely habitable and with limited resources. When a group of hikers in fancy gear insult the people who live there and then end up dead, the case falls to the newest resident, Shirley. Although not a witch, Shirley seems to know things without being told. It seems and open and shut case until Shirley is asked to consult.

Definitely, worth spending time reading for those who love the original characters or those who love a good mystery in less than novel length.

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