In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon, eds. Leslie S. Klinger and Laurie R. King, (Pegasus), 384 pages, released November 11, 2014
As lovers of all things Sherlockian know, one needs an occasional break between readings of the A. Conan Doyle originals. My favorite neo-Sherlockian is Laurie R. King, who has edited this collection, along with Leslie S. Klinger. King’s Mary Russell is a remarkable creation, fully worthy of working alongside the great detective. However, authors need time to write books—and readers can plow through them at a pace not even the most prolific of authors can match. So I deeply appreciate King and Klinger taking time to edit this collection.
Holmes has existed in many guises since Conan Doyle created him, and it is great fun to see what different writers do with him. Of course, I like some authors’ Sherlocks better than others’, but at a minimum they all have the benefit of providing me with new perspectives through which to view him.
The fifteen stories offered in In the Company of Sherlock Holmes offer a varied, enjoyable reading. The racehorse Silver Blaze (of the case when the dog didn’t bark in the night) retells his story from is own perspective. “The Hound of the Baskervilles” unrolls on social media in “Dr. Watson’s Casebook,” telegraphing the story to us in snippets leavened with humor:
Dr. John Watson was at the Diogenes Club.
It’s always best to leave Holmes along when he needs to think.
Baker Street Tobacco Supplies likes this.
Marylebone Coffee Importers likes this.
Later in this story we are told that
Stapleton [the villain] has joined the group Inconvenient Heirs No One Knew Existed—Until Now!
My favorite by far was “Dunkirk,” in which a certain Mr. Sigerson (one of Holmes’s aliases) helps with the huge civilian effort to ferry over three hundred thousand British, French, and Belgian troops across the English Channel, away from the soon-to-be-captured city of Dunkirk. I am not a fan of military fiction, but the story had me racing across the pages, heart pounding (really!), worrying about the fates of the boat crews, the soldiers, and, of course, Sigerson. While I’ll leave some of these stories with a single reading, this is one I’ll be returning to.
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes is a great book to give as a gift—to another reader or to one’s self. Its pleasures are many, the assortment of Holmes is varied, the different details from the original stories that inspired these authors are a delight to pick out.