reviewed by Margaret Tomlinson
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes is the second collection of Holmesian short stories edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger, arising from a Sherlock Holmes panel discussion at a 2010 Left Coast Crime conference. Though all inspired in some way by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's masterful detective stories, the wide variety of the stories ranges far afield from the classic Holmes pastiche.
Just six of the fifteen stories are historical fiction - seven, if you count Andrew Grant's Facebook-style series of posts ("Sherlock Holmes likes this ... Dr. James Mortimer shared a link ..."). Fans of historical fiction who gain as much pleasure from the Doyle stories' historical settings as from the character and deductive methods of Sherlock Holmes will likely enjoy the historical stories in this collection but feel less drawn to the contemporary stories, most of which revolve around Holmes-like characters in modern-day settings ranging from crime scenes to corporate offices.
The historical stories are well written, though few would count as pastiches. Sara Paretsky's "The Curious Affair of the Italian Art Dealer," brings Holmes together with a character - a female amateur detective - created by nineteenth-century novelist Anna Katherine Green, whose first detective novel predated Doyle's first Holmes tale. Michael Sims uses a surprising narrator in his clever story "The Memoirs of Silver Blaze." The collection includes a graphic story scripted by Leah Moore and John Reppion and illustrated by Chris Doherty and Adam Cadwell. In "Lost Boys," Cornelia Funke offers an interesting and touching theory about Holme's childhood. Michael Dirda's "By Any Other Name" focuses on a mystery concocted around the writing of the Holmes stories rather than around Doyle's characters. "Dunkirk," by John Lescroart, is set, as the title suggests, in 1940 rather than the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century settings of the Doyle stories. All are by skilled, creative authors who go beyond the attempt to craft yet another story in the Holmes canon, instead adding their own surprising twists to the genre. (2014, 262 pages)More about In the Company of Sherlock Holmes at Powell's Books or Amazon.com