cover image Sherlock Holmes: The Persian Slipper and Other Stories

Sherlock Holmes: The Persian Slipper and Other Stories

Brenda Seabrooke. MX Publishing, $14.95 trade paper (302p) ISBN 978-1-78705-985-6

The eight Sherlockian short stories in this collection from Seabrooke (The Haunting of Swain’s Fancy) offer imaginative concepts weakly executed. In the title story, set early in Holmes and Watson’s association, a former army colleague of the doctor’s, Charley Lyndley, asks for his help, and Holmes tags along to probe a puzzle. Lyndley’s sister is bereft because her fiancé abruptly canceled their engagement, possibly after suffering some odd hallucinations. In “The Naval Man,” Holmes teams up with Poe’s Chevalier Auguste Dupin, who’s in London on the trail of the man he suspected of a murder decades earlier, a case based on a real-life New York City cause célèbre. At one point, Watson says of their arrival at Scotland Yard: “Inspector Lestrade met us at the entrance, his thin sallow face almost aglow with glee.” Such awkward prose matches thin characterizations and plots lacking the kind of clever turns that distinguish the work of the best pasticheurs. Those willing to accept less fidelity to the canon are most likely to enjoy these. (Sept.)