Over the past six months or so, I’ve been (slowly, so slowly) reviewing some of the Sherlock Holmes books over at DriveThruFiction. Here are the five I’ve done so far.
Sherlock Holmes: Repeat Business: New Stories of the Great Detective: A very good collection of short stories, all tied together with a common theme: a previous client of Sherlock Holmes coming back for a second case. Some cases are better than others, but all of them are true to the original canon, and the Watson voice is solid and immersive. A great anthology for Holmes fans who know the original canon, or casual fans who are looking for some solid, classic mysteries.
Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Knights: A compilation of the four-issue series, “Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Knights” seems to be inspired by the recent Guy Ritchie films. The story draws details from the original stories without being too closely committed to any of them. Holmes and Watson bicker and argue, and a few times the writing is laugh-out-loud funny. The art is good and the PDF quality is clear. If you aren’t a stickler for fidelity to the original canon, this is an entertaining romp.
The Sherlock Holmes Megapack: 25 Modern Tales by Masters: It has an uninspiring title, but this is a massive anthology of Sherlock Holmes stories — 25 in total. Most people don’t realize that many modern Holmes anthologies usually have a theme or a flavor, such as stories that attempt to accurate evoke the original Doyle voice or Holmes stories that involve the supernatural. These are a grab-bag of stories ranging from very well-researched and faithful pastiches to stories of Holmes travelling through time. With many anthologies there are always some stories that hit or miss with the reader, but that’s especially true with this. If you can’t get behind the concept of, say, an investigation into a cult of readers of bad Holmes pastiches, some of the stories won’t resonate with you. But with nearly 600 pages of material, odds are you’ll find more hits than misses with this collection.
Victorian Villainy: A Collection of Moriarty Stories: A fun rework of Moriarty as an anti-hero. This version of the character differs pretty strongly from the canon (unlike, say, Kim Newman’s version, which is still pretty villainous), but it makes for a fun anthology.
The Young Sherlock Holmes Adventures Trade: A charming (if moderately inconsistent) reimagining of Sherlock Holmes. The trade is set in an alternative steampunk world, where Sherlock Holmes runs around with his friend James Moriarty (!). There are some new characters introduced as well, including a female Indian character who is sadly more of a stereotype than a compelling character in her own right. It’s not remotely close to the original stories, but it’s a fun adventure.