cover image Baker Street Irregulars: The Game Is Afoot

Baker Street Irregulars: The Game Is Afoot

Edited by Michael A. Ventrella and Jonathan Maberry. Diversion, $15.99 trade paper (270p) ISBN 978-1-63576-377-5

Ventrella and Maberry’s second anthology to feature Sherlockian protagonists who are “not white British males in frock coats” is only slightly more successful than 2017’s middling Baker Street Irregulars: Thirteen Authors with New Takes on Sherlock Holmes. Several of the 13 entries lose their punch by signaling the particular Conan Doyle adventures that they are inspired by. The table of contents’ teaser descriptions (e.g., “Sherlock is a home security system,” “Sherlock is a teenager on a Moon station,” “Sherlock is Santa Claus”) may indicate the originality of the contributors’ concepts, but nearly all the stories fall short of making a non-white, non-British detective a plausible homage to the original. The one notable exception is Narrelle M. Harris’s amusing “The Problem of the Three Journals,” which features an “Australian hipster” Sherlock who becomes the “resident smartarse” at the Sign of Four coffee bar that he sets up with his new friend, barista John Watson. Readers looking for creative stories that aren’t pastiches and yet capture the canon’s spirit will be better served by the theme anthologies of Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger (Echoes of Sherlock Holmes, etc.). (Apr.)