The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XII

Edited by David Marcum. MX, $44.95 (454p) ISBN 978-1-78705-376-2

The 18 short stories in Marcum’s impressive 12th pastiche anthology draw, as did Part XI, on Dr. Watson’s untold tales for their plots, this time from the latter half of Sherlock Holmes’s career. The timing enables some contributors to explore the emotional scars left on Watson by Holmes’s return from the dead, adding welcome psychological depth. As in the previous volume, the culprit’s identity will be clear to most Sherlockians as soon as he or she makes an appearance, but the thoughtfulness that each contributor puts into creating a story around a few cryptic lines more than compensates for the spoiling of whodunit. Several contributors clear the higher bar they set for themselves by devising plots not reliant on violent crime, as in Daniel D. Victor’s “The Adventure of the Smith-Mortimer Succession” and Marcum’s own “The Trusted Advisor,” which features a man who advertises himself as “The Sherlock Holmes of the Business World.” Marcum continues to amaze with the number of high-quality pastiches that he has selected. (Nov.)
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