‘That is why I have chosen my own particular profession, or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.’ (Sherlock Holmes ‘The Sign of Four’)
I grew up with Sherlock Holmes in print. I read Arthur Conan Doyle’s four novels and collections of his short stories during the third quarter of last century, wishing I had the same skills as Holmes to observe and deduce and a trusty sidekick like Doctor John Watson to assist. Half a century later, I am delighted to make the acquaintance of different versions of Holmes and Watson through a collection of thirteen short stories brought together by commissioning editor Narrelle M. Harris.
If you have ever wondered about an ancient Egyptian version of Holmes and Watson, turn to L.J.M.Owen’s ‘Prince Ha-Mes and the Adventure of The Stoned Mason’. I thoroughly enjoyed Jayantika Ganguly’s ‘The Adventure of the Fated Homecoming’ (set in India). There are stories set in New Orleans (by Greg Herren), in cyberspace (Atlin Merrick), while Jack Fennell takes us to Ireland. In his story, Jason Franks takes us to South Africa during apartheid, while Natalie Conyer takes us to a Jewish village in Poland. Kerry Greenwood and David Greagg take us to the Viking Age, while Lisa Fessler takes us to Berlin. Restoration England provides the setting for Lucy Sussex’s story while Katya de Becerra takes us to a future Russia. Raymond Gates provides a unique twist in Australia, and J.M. Redmann takes us to an entirely different New Orleans.
And, in each of these stories, we meet different versions of Holmes and Watson. The bodies they inhabit might be different from those described by Conan Doyle, the times, and places they inhabit frequently are, but their detecting skills remain singular.
I also want to mention Judith Rossell’s brilliant cover and Andrea L. Farley’s illustrations as the beginning of each chapter.
What a terrific anthology this is! If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories, if you would like to consider Holmes and Watson outside the roles depicted by Arthur Conan Doyle, I think you will enjoy these stories as much as I did. Highly recommended.
In my mind, I can imagine Holmes saying: ‘It’s elementary!’