Gaslight Gothic: Strange Tales of Sherlock Holmes

Edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec. Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy (Ingram, U.S. dist.), $14.95 trade paper (278p) ISBN 978-1-77053-159-8
The fourth in this series of anthologies “pitting the supreme rationalist, Sherlock Holmes, against the weird, the supernatural, and the uncanny” (following 2013’s Gaslight Grotesque) is an uneven one; many of the 10 stories feel derivative, despite the talent of the contributors. For example, James Lovegrove’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Sacker and Mr. Hope,” which imagines Holmes turning into a homicidal vigilante after he imbibes Dr. Jekyll’s monster-transforming formula, comes across as underdeveloped and gimmicky. Other shout-outs to classic horror authors, such as M.R. James and Algernon Blackwood, are less than effective. The best of this volume is “The Cuckoo’s Hour” by rising pastiche star Mark A. Latham, featuring a murder committed in a manor “full of symbolism and hidden chambers” and blamed on the Jack o’ the Green, who’s rumored to spend his summers searching for “guilty men to drag away to his realm.” Fans of alternate Holmeses will find this only a middling offering. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Genre: Fiction
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