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

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories: Part XXVIII

Edited by David Marcum. MX Publishing, $44.95 (460p) ISBN 978-1-78705-926-9

A locked-room mystery without bloodshed and a seemingly motiveless serial killer tale highlight Marcum’s impressive 28th anthology, featuring 18 pastiches from early in Sherlock Holmes’s sleuthing career. In Mark Mower’s “The Yuletide Heist,” set at Baker Street, the detective shares a case he handled in his pre-Watson days. Despite elaborate safeguards, including multiple locked doors and a sealed vault that couldn’t be opened from the outside before a set time, a London bank was breached after hours. Apart from the apparent impossibility, the thief or thieves stole only a fraction of the cash they had access to and ignored jewels worth millions. Mower enlivens the puzzle by having Holmes’s dinner guests, including Inspector Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson, weigh in with possible solutions. Amy Thomas’s “A Study in Murder” pits the investigator against someone who kills three men, possibly for no reason other than the pleasure of doing so, leaving one corpse on the very doorstep of 221B. All entries adhere to the spirit, language, and characterizations of Conan Doyle’s originals, evincing the deep pool of talent Marcum has access to. Against the odds, this series remains strong, hundreds of stories in. (Nov.)