cover image The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part XVI: 1881–1890

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part XVI: 1881–1890

Edited by David Marcum. MX Publishing, $44.95 (432p) ISBN 978-1-78705-502-5

The 16 stories in Marcum’s excellent 16th pastiche anthology pit Sherlock Holmes against ghosts, werewolves, and various other monsters, offering clever, rational solutions to seemingly paranormal mysteries. A highlight is Mark Mower’s striking “The Spectral Pterosaur,” in which a rash of fossil thefts brings Insp. Stephen Maddocks of Scotland Yard to Baker Street. Before he can elaborate on the “unearthly vision” he has witnessed, however, Maddocks drops dead from an apparent heart attack. The plot thickens when Holmes and Watson learn that before his visit Maddocks claimed to have seen a fossilized pterodactyl at the British Museum come to life. Derrick Belanger is equally inventive in “The Wylington Lake Monster,” in which an old army colleague of Watson’s involves him and Holmes in a murder mystery where the culprit is supposedly a water spirit resembling a man. A figure from Holmes’s childhood entreats him for help in another of the volume’s standouts, I.A. Watson’s “The Adventures of the Giant’s Wife,” in which a murder victim reported seeing one giant ghost kill another. Marcum has once again done fans of Conan Doyle’s originals a service. (Dec.)