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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Review: A Study In Sherlock

A Study in Sherlock
Ed. By Laurie R. King and Les Klinger
Reviewed by Amy Thomas
The Baker Street Babes

Ever since the publication of the Sherlock Holmes canon, the four novels and fifty-six short stories that comprise Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s official Holmes output, authors have been appropriating his characters for their own use. Conan Doyle himself was known to do so—Holmes is almost certainly intended as the main character of a few of his creator’s stories in which he is not named. As a result, a long tradition of Holmes-derived pastiche exists to delight and anger fans in seemingly equal measure.

A Study in Sherlock, an anthology of twenty original short stories related to Sherlock Holmes, is both a part of this tradition and a departure from it at the same time. Instead of the usual canon-derived inventions of Holmes devotees, this collection is unique because it is filled with stories by writers who do not normally take Holmes as a subject.

The resulting book is wildly varied—containing everything from direct pastiches to modernizations, fantasies, and even one story told in graphics. Some stories take Holmes as a character inspiration; others seem inspired only by his methods; still others tackle the idea of Holmes fandom itself. The experience of reading is enhanced by short author bios that detail each author’s connection (or lack thereof) to the Conan Doyle stories.

One of the book’s strengths is its celebration of the diversity of perspectives on Holmes; therefore, it is difficult to single out a particular story or stories as high points. Undoubtedly, there will be nearly as many opinions as there are readers.

A Study in Sherlock is a worthwhile addition to the library of any Holmes fan, and it could also serve as an excellent, albeit non-traditional, entry-point into the Holmes world for readers who may be unfamiliar with the originals. Eminently readable, it manages to be both respectful and humorously irreverent at the same time, a book to delight fans of the detective for a long time to come.

Buy at Random House
Buy at Amazon.com US
Buy at Amazon.co.uk UK

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