cover image The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XI

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XI

Edited by David Marcum. MX, $44.95 (440p) ISBN 978-1-78705-373-1

Each of 17 Sherlock Holmes pastiches in Marcum’s stellar 11th anthology (after Part X) is based on one of the teasing references that Conan Doyle made to cases that were never published. The end result is another triumph of ingenuity and faithfulness to the spirit of the canon. The contributions include takes on the most tantalizing untold tales, such as that of the Giant Rat of Sumatra, for which Holmes deemed the world “not yet prepared,” as well as more obscure ones, such as the mystery Inspector Lestrade handled while Holmes was believed dead. Even where the canonical references spoil whodunit, the authors maintain engagement through imaginative setups, including a case of spontaneous combustion. Gayle Lang Puhl is especially effective in “Colonel Warburton’s Madness,” in which, atypically, Watson is the entry point for an investigation. Puhl’s account of Watson’s old commanding officer’s apparent bout of insanity, set in a remote estate in the Lake District, is not only highly atmospheric but cleverly resolves one of the more infamous apparent continuity errors in the original stories. This is an essential volume for Sherlock Holmes fans. (Nov.)