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Murder in Baker Street: New Tales of…

Murder in Baker Street: New Tales of Sherlock Holmes

by Martin H. Greenberg (Editor), Jon L. Lellenberg (Editor & Contributor), Daniel Stashower (Editor & Introduction)

Other authors: Jon L. Breen (Contributor), Bill Crider (Contributor), Arthur Conan Doyle (Contributor), Howard Engel (Contributor), Loren D. Estleman (Contributor)8 more, L.B. Greenwood (Contributor), Edward D. Hoch (Contributor), Stuart M. Kaminsky (Contributor), Gillian Linscott (Contributor), Anne Perry (Contributor), Lloyd Rose (Contributor), Peter Tremayne (Contributor), Carolyn Wheat (Contributor)

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
The short version: not a bad collection of Sherlock Holmes tales. I've read a few better; I've read many, many worse! The writing is consistently good. Best of all, these tales are faithful to the character and the canon - you don't have to worry that Holmes will suddenly be revealed as a German spy, or a body snatcher, or gay. If that's good enough for you, don't bother to read on! Some may find my brief descriptions of each story useful, but mostly I include them because I have a notoriously poor memory and this is my way of recalling my impressions of each tale. (Just in case, I've been careful not to include any spoilers!)

The Man from Capetown (Stuart M. Kaminsky) entangles Holmes into a love triangle when a young woman asks him to convince her divorced husband not to seek vengeance against her intended. I suspect this tale appears first because Kaminsky does a competent job of mimicking both Doyle’s writing style and his method of plotting. Nothing brilliant, but a nice, comfortable read.

The Case of the Borderland Dandelions (Howard Engel) relates the classic tale of a wealthy older man, a young heir, and arsenic-laced tea. Alas, there’s no real mystery about who committed the crime, and the reveal hinges on that hoariest of mystery clichés, the “how would they have known ___ unless they were the murderer!” clue, to unmask the villain. Holmes deserves better.

The Siren of Sennen Cove (Peter Tremayne) starts off like a Scooby Doo mystery for adults (the siren referenced in the title is nekked! shocking!), but incorporates some interesting history about the ancient, wicked practice of wrecking (luring ships onto rocks so that they can be looted), which was informative and entertaining.

I’m sure I’ve encountered The Case of the Bloodless Sock (Anne Perry) in another collection, and I still don’t like it. Every respectable Holmes fan knows that Moriarty would never be caught dead doing his own dirty work.(That’s not a spoiler – the mystery is how, not who.)

The Adventure of the Anonymous Author (Edward Hoch) was, I thought, one of the weakest of the batch. The set-up strains credibility (Holmes tracks someone by following them back from the post office? pedestrian!), the solution is obvious, and much of the tale is told after the fact, so there’s almost no suspense.

The Case of the Vampire’s Mark (Bill Crider) features a guest appearance by Bram Stoker, and conveniently fails to reference the fact that Holmes has faced vampires once before, in The Case of the Sussex Vampire, a Doyle original. I was inclined to be skeptical, but the solution is clever, even if the culprit is obvious.

A Hansom for Mr. Holmes (Gillian Linscott) is a bit of a change, narrating one of Holmes’ little “adventures” from the perspective (first person) of the fellow driving his hansom cab. The adventure involves the attempted assassination of a foreign dignitary, and though there’s nothing wonderfully original about the clue that unlocks the mystery, there’s a bit with a dog that provides a touch of lighthearted fun.

It doesn’t matter that the solution to this one is painfully obvious, because The Case of the Arabian Knight (Loren Estleman) features no less a client than Sir Richard Burton, portrayed here as a combination of Lawrence of Arabia and Indiana Jones. I’m guessing Estleman recently read one of the definitive biographies of this astonishing individual, and couldn’t resist the urge to find a way to entangle him in a Holmes tale.

The Case of the Cheshire Cheese (Jon Breen) also takes the liberty of invoking a famous historical personage (the Great Lexiconographer, Samuel Johnson); unlike the aforementioned tale, however, the connection adds little interest to the tale. The solution relies on information the reader could not possibly possess and the exercise is entirely cerebral.

Darkest Gold (L.B. Greenwood) gets the award for pulling Holmes furthest from his usual orbit, dragging him all the way to darkest Africa in an adventure that involves pygmies, a legendary city of gold, a noble African explorer a la Livingston, disguises, dastardly bad guys, and danger. If all this sounds a little like an Indiana Jones adventure, that’s because that’s just how this reads. I like to think the man who authored The White Company would approve.

The Remarkable Worm (Carolyn Wheat) involves Holmes in the suspicious death of a wealthy, unpleasant old gentleman. The story is competent, but it’s the subplot involving Joseph Tussaud and the effort to immortalize a certain great detective in wax that makes this worth the read. (Be patient – the payoff comes at the end.)

Sidelights on Sherlock Holmes is by far the most entertaining essay in this collection – fitting, since it was penned by Doyle himself. In this piece, Doyle ruminates on the rather bewilderingly complex life of his “consulting detective” in literary pastiches, on the stage, and before the camera. Unless you’re a dedicated Sherlockian, much of this history is likely to be new to the reader. I especially enjoyed his comedic reaction to the ironic failure of the only lone stage play that he himself had a hand in writing.

In 100 Years of Sherlock Holmes (Lloyd Rose), we learn more about modern portrayals of Sherlock Holmes, with an emphasis on various literary and stage interpretations of Holmes’s famously elusive creation. Rose makes the argument that the reason Holmes remains compelling after so many decades is that Doyle wrote him that way – subject to interpretation but never to stereotype.

And Now, a Word From Arthur Conan Doyle (Jon Lellenberg) wraps up the volume with a short study on contributions by Doyle and Holmes to the modern lexicon. While no Shakespeare, it turns out Doyle did enrich the modern Oxford English Dictionary with such questionably useful words as snackle (to secure or make fast), snick (a sharp noise, a click), and snap (alertness, energy, vigor), among others. ( )
  Dorritt | Aug 27, 2016 |
Holmesian short stories by modern authors ( )
  Jenn70 | Apr 1, 2013 |
Over the years, many writers of crime fiction have penned short stories involving Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Dr. Watson. The present collection consists of 12 stories written in 2001. I found the selections herein disappointing – dull, forgettable, and not worthy of a second reading. In one (“Darkest Gold”) Holmes and Watson travel to Africa, in a tale that is downright silly and implausible. Another (“The Case of the Bloodless Sock”) showed promise due to appearance of Prof. Moriarty, but the story line is too far- fetched and the “detecting” is weak.

The best selection by far is by Conan Doyle himself, who gives a humorous, self- effacing perspective on his literary creations. Lloyd Rose's historical essay “100 Years of Sherlock Holmes" is also worthwhile.
However, in all other respects, I found this a weak selection of stories.

On a scale of zero to five stars, here is how I ranked them:

"The Man from Capetown" (Stuart M. Kaminsky) – 2*
"The Case of the Borderland Dandelions" (Howard Engel) – 2.5*
"The Siren of Sennen Cove" (Peter Tremayne) – 1*
"The Case of the Bloodless Sock" (Anne Perry) – 1.5*
"The Adventure of the Anonymous Author" (Edward D. Hoch) – 2*
"The Case of the Vampire's Mark" (Bill Crider) – 2*
"A Hansom for Mr. Holmes" (Gillian Linscott) – 2*
"The Adventure of the Arabian Knight" (Loren D. Estleman) – 2*
"The Adventure of the Cheshire Cheese" (Jon L. Breen) – 1*
"Darkest Gold" (L.B. Greenwood) – 0 *
"The Remarkable Worm" (Carolyn Wheat) – 1*
"Sidelights on Sherlock Holmes" (Arthur Conan Doyle) – 5*
“100 Years of Sherlock Holmes" (Lloyd Rose) – 3*
"And Now, a Word from Arthur Conan Doyle" (Jon L. Lellenberg) – 2* ( )
2 vote danielx | Jan 5, 2013 |
This one was overall quite good. It included a number of authors, some of whom capture the spirit of Holmes, as well as his twists and turns. It seemed familiar, though I couldn't predict what the next page would bring. There were a couple of bonuses - one was a bit by Conan Doyle about Holmes, and an essay about Holmes' presence in media through the years. Another review has phrased it wonderfully as "a quite passable anthology". ( )
  maedb | Dec 14, 2010 |
I enjoyed this collection of short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, especially the ones "The Siren of Sennen Cove" and "A Hansom for Mr. Holmes". I also liked the essay "100 Years of Sherlock Holmes" which looked at how the Holmes character has been portrayed over the years on stage and film. ( )
  krin5292 | Dec 7, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greenberg, Martin H.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lellenberg, Jon L.Editor & Contributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Stashower, DanielEditor & Introductionmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Breen, Jon L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crider, BillContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doyle, Arthur ConanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Engel, HowardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Estleman, Loren D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greenwood, L.B.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoch, Edward D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kaminsky, Stuart M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Linscott, GillianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Perry, AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rose, LloydContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tremayne, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wheat, CarolynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786710748, Paperback)

Ingeniously contrived and shrewdly executed by some of the finest talents at work in crime fiction today—Anne Perry, Loren Estleman, Gillian Linscott, Edward D. Hoch, Peter Tremayne, Stuart Kaminsky, Jon L. Breen, Bill Crider, Howard Engel, Carolyn Wheat, and L. B. Greenwood—the eleven stories in this premier volume celebrate the keen mind and singular manners of the Great Detective. "This collection is of the highest order and should be required for every Sherlockian shelf."—Minneapolis Star Tribune "A worthier gift for any mystery aficionado cannot be imagined."—Chicago Sun-Times "Uniformly faithful to the spirit of Doyle's creation."—Publisher's Weekly

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"More than a century has passed since Arthur Conan Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes to the reading public, but no literary detective has yet to match the Great Detective in popularity and to command the esteem of such legions of fans - not least among them the mystery writers who pay tribute to him in this collection. Ingeniously contrived and shrewdly executed, their tales revisit the comfortable clutter of the rooms of 221B Baker Street where Holmes in an old silk dressing gown, his gaze piercing and his fingers stained with chemicals or ink, again peruses a telling trifle or perhaps takes up his violin."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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