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

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XXIII

Edited by David Marcum. MX Publishing, $44.95 (592p) ISBN 978-1-78705-660-2

Marcum’s outstanding 23rd anthology features 11 sets of paired stories that each interprets a cryptic canonical reference differently. The highlight is a superior integration of the fictional worlds of Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker, “The Adventure of the Tired Captain,” by Stoker’s great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker and Leverett Butts, in which Holmes is consulted by the father of one of the characters who didn’t survive the plot of Dracula, who’s desperate to know the fate of his child. “The Adventure of the Abducted Bard” by I.A. Watson and “The Crimes of John Clay” by Paul Hiscock flesh out the backstory of the clever thief featured in Conan Doyle’s “The Red-Headed League,” a major villain underutilized by other pasticheurs. Jane Rubino (“To the Manor Bound”) and Craig Janacek (“The Adventure of the Loring Riddle”) take a throwaway line uttered by Mycroft Holmes in one of his original appearances to craft mysteries that will challenge even Sherlockians who recall the identity of the culprit. Marcum’s well of talented authors able to mimic the feel of the canon seems bottomless. (Nov.)