Saturday, February 18, 2012

More tales of Sherlock....

A Study in Sherlock
Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Kinger
Bantam Books
"Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon"

If nothing else, the recent edited volumn of stories by 16 noted mystery writers such as Margaret Maron, Jan Burke, Lee Child, Laura Lippman, Dana Stabenow, and several others "inspired by the Holmes Canon" inspire one to go back and read the originals. I first read Holmes as a teenager and it is time to re-read the collection. I wasn't sure if I would like these stories but they are wonderful, although all are very different.

I'd be hard pressed to pick my favorites. Some feature Holmes in a new story such as the ones by Alan Bradley, Thomas Perry, S. J. Rozan, and Neil Gaiman. Dr. Watson and Mrs. Hudson solve a mystery without Holmes in Maron's story, while Conan Doyle is the subject of Todd's story. Others such as the ones by Jacqueline Winspear, Dana Stabenow, Gayle Lynds and John Sheldon, Jan Burke, Lionel Chetwynd, Tony Broadbent, Lee Child, and Philip and Jerry Margolin, are about detectives inspired by Holmes or using similar methods of observation and detection. Some are set in the Victorian era, some in the early twentieth century, and some are contemporary. It is also good to read these stories by Burke, Maron, Lippman, and Winspear, whose detective novels I've read avidly but whose stories are featuring other detectives and in some cases other eras. I particularly enjoyed Winspear's story about the inspiration of a young detective.

As I said, it is difficult to pick any favorites since they were all so good but if I pressed I'd say that Neil Gaiman's semi-steampunk sci-fi Holmes story set in part in China, and Dana Stabenow's epistolary blog-novel set in modern Alaska are my absolute favorites of the collection. But I liked them all. I was disappointed that there was no story by Laurie King herself but it is a wonderful collection. I will be looking for stories by Alan Bradley, the Margolins, Lionel Chetwynd, ad Gaiman, all of whom I had never read before and really loved their stories. I did not read the graphic Holmes story by Colin Cotterill since that didn't appeal to me but might appeal to other readers.

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