cover image The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories

Edited by Otto Penzler. Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $40 (800p) ISBN 978-1-101-87261-1

The breadth of this anthology, which spans over a century and includes everything from straight pastiches and parodies to fully developed whodunits, is but one of its virtues. Among the 83 selections, Penzler (The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries) offers works by authors better known for other fiction, such as O. Henry, A.A. Milne, and P.G. Wodehouse, as well as tales from Holmes scholars such as Christopher Morley and Leslie Klinger. Settings range from Baker Street to unfamiliar terrain, not necessarily on Earth. The variety of approaches is an eloquent testament to Conan Doyle’s genius in creating such an iconic character. One gem, which may be new even to Sherlockians, is “The Adventure of the Murdered Art Editor,” penned by none other than the classic American illustrator of the Holmes canon, Frederic Dorr Steele. Perhaps Penzler’s most significant contribution is rescuing from undeserved obscurity talented writers who have captured the Watsonian narrative voice and combined it with brilliant deductions and mesmerizing plots, such as Rick Boyer (“The Adventure of Zolnay, the Aerialist”), August Derleth (“The Adventure of the Remarkable Worm”), and James Iraldi (“The Problem of the Purple Maculas”). This volume is a must for all fans of the great detective. (Oct.)