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Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures. Mike Ashley (Editor) Robinson (2009)

A collection of 26 stories that range across the full length of Sherlock Holmes' career. They are neatly organised and the way that they fold into the chronology of the Sherlock Holmes cannon is clearly laid out. The editor has done a very nice job of introducing the stories and placing them in context, all told it is a excellent volume of very entertaining stories.
The stories frequently take as their starting point some of the cases referred to by Dr. Watson but never written up or published for a variety of reasons. Each of them is carefully written so as to respect the full range of details in the original stories, there are no science fiction elements and very few entries by historical figures, the few exceptions are nicely woven into the stories and do add a nice flavour to the mix.
The stories avoid being too reverential in tone or content, within the fairly strict bounds the writers have set for themselves the stories are striking and original, the writers penetrate beneath the surface details to capture the moving spirit of the originals. The required details and flourishes are all present and correct, the deductive reasoning that baffles Dr Watson to be rendered mundane with an explanation, Mycroft Holmes and international diplomacy and intrigue. Most importantly there is the true figure of Holmes, alive only with the chase and the need for a challenge. These stories pass a critical test in how they deal with Dr. Watson, he his handled with care and respect, he is the true friend and confident of Sherlock Holmes, the human heartbeat of the adventures. Great stories and great fun.

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