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Shadows Over Baker Street: New Tales of Terror! (2003)

by Michael Reaves (Editor), John Pelan (Editor)

Other authors: Steven-Elliot Altman (Contributor), Elizabeth Bear (Contributor), Poppy Z. Brite (Contributor), Simon Clark (Contributor), David Ferguson (Contributor)13 more, Paul Finch (Contributor), Neil Gaiman (Contributor), Barbara Hambly (Contributor), Caitlín R. Kiernan (Contributor), Tim Lebbon (Contributor), James Lowder (Contributor), Richard A. Lupoff (Contributor), F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre (Contributor), Patricia Lee Macomber (Contributor), Steve Perry (Contributor), Brian M. Stableford (Contributor), John P. Vourlis (Contributor), David Niall Wilson (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6351725,529 (3.64)24
Sherlock Holmes enters the macabre and nightmarish world of H.P. Lovecraft to solve a series of bizarre cases in a collection of short fiction by such authors as Neil Gaiman, Steve Perry, Brian Stableford, and Poppy Z. Brite.
  1. 10
    The Occult Detectives of C. J. Henderson by C. J. Henderson (storyjunkie)
    storyjunkie: Both works feature active, engaged detectives facing down unknowable horrors. The mood of stubborn, investigative heroes encountering things from beyond carries through both works, providing an atmosphere that neither Victorian mystery, hard-boiled mystery, or supernatural horror could provide on its own.… (more)
  2. 00
    The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club by Kim Newman (storyjunkie)
    storyjunkie: Similar reader knowledge required, and the sense of fun and writer enjoyment of the stories is present in both.
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» See also 24 mentions

English (15)  German (2)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Originally I was going to pass on this collection since the concept sounded too gimmicky. But then I read and was impressed by the odd mood of Neil Gaiman's award-winning "A Study in Emerald", so I decided to give it a try. Besides no less reverential a Lovecraft scholar than Peter Cannon combined the two mythos in his The Lovecraft Papers. It's not at all certain Lovecraft would have minded either since he was taken with Sherlock Holmes at an early age and allowed his friends to play in the horrible funhouse - especially the library annex - he created in his Yog-Sothory.

While I've read and enjoyed Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes stories, I'm not very familiar with the many additions to that literary universe by other authors. (This one is authorized by his estate.) So, I approached this as a Lovecraft fan and not a Holmes fan.

The stories are arranged in chronological order of setting, and the most striking thing about them is how many don't feature the standard pairing of Holmes and Watson.

The London of Gaiman's story is a strange, uneasy place where the monstrosities of famous Victorian fantastic literature often are referenced in handbills, and we don't follow Holmes or Watson but another doctor and detective. All is explained in a disturbing ending. Holmes and Watson don't even get a mention in Elizabeth Bear's "Tiger! Tiger!". Instead, in India, we follow Irene Adler and Colonel Moran, two of the more famous minor characters in the Holmes series, on a tiger hunt with a strange, unseen menace, Great Game machinations, and Afghan magic all playing a part. I liked it better than Bear's more famous Cthulhu stories, "Shoggoths in Bloom" and "Mongoose". Like the Gaiman, it works in plot and as a mood piece.

The same is not true of Steve Perry's "The Case of the Wavy Dagger" which strikes me as more a martial arts warrior babe story and Cthulhuish only via the context of being included here. No Watson again in Steven-Eliot Altman's "A Case of Royal Blood". Instead, H. G. Wells plays Holmes' assistant as the two investigate a poltergeist haunting the royal family of the Netherlands. A fruitful conflation of Wells and Lovecraft though not as stunning as what Brian Aldiss did with "The Saliva Tree". Watson doesn't have to share the stage at all with Holmes in James Lowder's "The Weeping Mask". More Conan Doyleish adventure than Lovecraftian horror, it's an effective account of Watson's encounter with a strange Afghan cult.

And no Watson again in Brian Stableford's "Art in the Blood". As usual, when he puts his had to working in a classic fictional setting, Stableford delivers in a superb effort which has the Diogenes Club investigating the death of one of its agents and trying to help a seaman suffering a crippling disease.

Finally, Holmes and Watson show up together in a Poppy Z. Brite's and David Ferguson's rather perfunctory "The Curious Case of Miss Violet Stone" which features Lovecraft's the Great Race.

Barbara Hambly throws William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki into the blender with a little referenced Lovecraft story, "The Rats in the Wall", and pours out the effective "The Adventure of the Antiquarian's Niece". I think John Pelan's "The Mystery of the Worm" is doing something similar with a Fu Manchuish villain and another, less famous Lovecraft story, "The Nameless City". It's another involving story though more on the scientific detective side of things than horror.

Paul Finch's "The Mystery of the Hanged Man's Puzzle" is just good pulpy fun with Holmes delivered a taunting challenge by an executed criminal on his last morning, a challenge to avoid worldwide destruction. The action in London's sewers reminded me a bit of that classic Dr. Who episode "The Talons of Weng-Chiang". However, a bit of high implausibility involving a Gatling gun took me right out of the story towards the end.

Nothing explicitly Lovecraftian shows up in Tim Lebbon's mood piece "The Horror of Many Faces" which involves a rash of vicious murders in London - all committed by formerly upstanding citizens.

We always suspected Watson was a bit modest in the matter of the ladies, so it was nice to see an old lover, an Afghan princess, show up in "The Adventure of the Arab's Manuscript" by Michael Reaves.

Former paleontologist Caitlin Kiernan puts her training to good use in one of the very best stories in the book, "The Drowned Geologist". A story told via letter and hints of a horror from deep time - to say nothing of the lurking, nagging unease generated from a nearby shipwreck, this is another Kiernan story which uses the vitality of Lovecraft's themes without slavishly copying the plots and style.

John P. Vourlis' "A Case of Insomnia" is merely ok, a story of mysterious plague of insomnia. Better is Richard A. Lupoff's "The Adventure of the Voorish Sign". Lupoff has done some stunning takeoffs on Lovecraft in all kinds of veins from silly to experimental science fiction. This story is Lupoff mostly in his mystery writer mode and told in a straight detective style as Holmes searches for a missing husband.

I did not like F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre would be humor tale "The Adventure of the Exham Priory". It was yet another example of that author's nostalgic Victorianism.

While I did like David Niall Wilson and Patricia Lee Macomber's "Death Did Not Become Him", it seemed Lovecraftian only by virtue of a couple of paragraphs wedged in at the last moment.

Simon Clark's "Nightmare in Wax" borrows a stylistic trick from Lovecraft's "A Whisperer in the Darkness" - partially telling the tale through the wax cylinder recordings of one Professor Moriarty and his work at draining a flooded village to uncover ...

Three weak stories and excellent work in the Gaiman, Stableford, and Kiernan pieces. Not a perfect collection judged by any measure but good enough for a Lovecraftian to pick up. ( )
2 vote RandyStafford | Apr 19, 2012 |
Wonderful new twists on the adventures of the Great Detective. A Lovecraftian taint squirms through out each. Be prepared to jump at shadows while you read this dark collection. ( )
  barpurple | Aug 30, 2011 |
An anthology of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, in which the great detective's investigations lead him into the dark world imagined by H.P. Lovecraft.

The book starts off well, as "A Study in Emerald" (the only one of the stories I have read before) has a satisfying twist in its tail, and it finishes equally satisfyingly with "A Nightmare in Wax". Holmes faces a wide variety of cases, but it was interesting that more than one author suggested that Dr. Watson had come across the Old Ones before, during his time as an army surgeon in Afghanistan, and several managed to fit in bees and beekeeping. There is one story featuring Colonel Sebastian Moran and Irene Adler, in which Holmes and Watson don't appear, and there are references in others to characters from other Victorian fantastic fiction, such as Dracula and Caresco Surhomme.

The only problem with the book is that I didn't find any of the stories particularly frightening. I suppose that's bound to happen when you involve Sherlock Holmes, since the reader is expecting things to turn out more or less okay in the end, which is not something you can rely on when reading Lovecraft! ( )
  isabelx | Apr 23, 2011 |
Varying quality by author. Occasional skanky race issues seemed to be inherited from Lovecraft himself. ( )
  nilchance | May 21, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Reaves, MichaelEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pelan, JohnEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Altman, Steven-ElliotContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brite, Poppy Z.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clark, SimonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ferguson, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Finch, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hambly, BarbaraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kiernan, Caitlín R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lebbon, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lowder, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lupoff, Richard A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MacIntyre, F. GwynplaineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Macomber, Patricia LeeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Perry, SteveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stableford, Brian M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vourlis, John P.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wilson, David NiallContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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