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

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XX

Edited by David Marcum. MX Publishing, $44.95 (464p) ISBN 978-1-78705-565-0

A haunting reminiscent of the legend of Sleepy Hollow and a rash of robberies committed by someone wearing a black duffel coat highlight Marcum’s impressive 20th Sherlock Holmes anthology. Gayle Lange Puhl’s “The Blood-Spattered Bridge” sends Holmes and Watson to Kent to look into the apparent return of a mythical ghost, heralded by “the sound of hooves and the cry of a horse late on moonless nights.” The specter is supposedly that of a murderous 13th-century soldier, and there’s some grim tangible evidence—bloodstains, whose appearance coincides with a town official’s disappearance. In “The Adventure of Old Black Duffel,” Will Murray pits Holmes against a brazen and miraculously elusive thief. Another standout is Charles Veley and Anna Elliott’s “The Murders in the Maharajah’s Railway Carriage,” in which Inspector Lestrade comes under suspicion after a jewel theft and murder. Other authors offer intriguing takes on some of Watson’s tantalizing references in the canon to untold tales, including a baffling vanishing of a man who went missing after going to retrieve his umbrella and a gory death linked to a bizarre worm. Marcum’s reserve of high-quality new Holmes exploits seems endless. (May)