cover image The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories: Part XXV

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories: Part XXV

Edited by David Marcum. MX Publishing, $44.95 (508p) ISBN 978-1-78705-775-3

The gifted authors of the 19 pastiches in this superior MX Sherlock Holmes anthology eschew murder in favor of lesser but still baffling crimes such as blackmail and kidnapping. In one of the standouts, Marcum’s “The Sunderland Tragedies,” a desperate mother fears her young daughter has been abducted by the girl’s birth father; a horrific tragedy that claimed many children’s lives gives the tale the kind of emotional depth Conan Doyle’s emulators often lack. “The Hungarian Doctor,” by the always reliable Denis O. Smith, enables Dr. Watson to play a prominent role after the Baker Street duo is visited by physician Laszlo Kazinczy, who’s been summoned to attend an ill aristocrat under sinister circumstances. Hal Glatzer’s “The God of War” gives Holmes an unusual royal client after a representative of the kingdom of Hawaii asks for help foiling an extortion plot. Stephen Gaspar daringly opens “The Atkinson Brothers of Trincomalee” by noting that Holmes considered the case one of his rare failures, subverting readers’ expectations at the outset. The variety of plots is matched by the contributors’ skills. Once again, those who relish traditional Holmes stories will be delighted. (May)