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

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XXIV

Edited by David Marcum. MX Publishing, $44.95 (564p) ISBN 978-1-78705-664-0

How can a piece of parsley supply a vital clue to a detective? The answer is supplied in one of the 21 short stories in MX’s excellent 24th anthology of tales emulating Conan Doyle’s originals, all inspired by Dr. Watson’s teasing mentions of investigations he never published. In Jayantika Ganguly’s “The Adventure of Parsley and Butter,” Holmes is consulted by a prominent attorney who has survived five attempts on his life, but is unable to forestall another attack. Ganguly cleverly explains how the depth that the parsley had sunk into the butter indicated the timing of the crime. Marcum delivers one of his best efforts, “The Hammerford Will Business,” in which a claimant to a valuable estate, who was believed dead, resurfaces after almost 20 years, to level an accusation of attempted murder. Marcia Wilson and Brenda Seabrooke plausibly flesh out the characters of the Scotland Yarders most frequently featured in the canon, inspectors Gregson and Lestrade, in “The Comet Wine’s Funeral” and “The Case of the Accused Cook,” respectively. Marcum’s expertise at selecting high-quality pastiches remains impressive. (Nov.)