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Monday, May 20, 2013

My Sherlock Holmes: Untold Stories of the Great Detective

My Sherlock Holmes: Untold Stories of the Great Detective

My Sherlock Holmes: Untold Stories of the Great Detective
 edited by Michael Kurland
stories by Barbara Hambly, Michael Mallory, Norman Schreiber, Peter Tremayne, Mel, GIlden, Richard Lupoff and others

The anthology of 13 stories contributed by various authors about one of my favorite literary characters seemed promising, especially since the stories are narrated from the perspective of some of the secondary characters, not Dr.Watson's; and, edited by Michael Kurland whose other Holmes books had a diametrically opposite perspective that it made me sit up and explore the possibility.

I decided to read the stories in this book in no particular order.

A handful turned out to be quite interesting and impressive, some were rather insipid, and a few were quite uncharacteristic and lacked respect for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stalwart detective. But they all projected the spirit of the times in the style reminiscent of Holmes' original adventures.

"Call me Wiggins" was one of the stories I enjoyed. The young urchin, the Baker Street Irregular Wiggins, that Holmes employs as his eyes and ears in the streets often, is apparently taken under the great detective's wing, educated and trained, and even allowed to solve a case, on his own, successfully at that. Lewis Carroll's private life dragged into this story was a bit distasteful but the narration was quite tight and consistent.

"The Adventure of the Forgotten Umbrella", "The Riddle of the Young Protestor", "Mrs.Hudson Reminiscences", "And the Others", "Mycroft's Great Game" were all quite enjoyable. Couldn't say that for some of the other stories.

However, having tremendous respect for writers, especially ones who can take a famous character and write in a different voice, a different perspective, and still maintain authenticity and integrity, I did enjoy reading this book. I am no armchair literary critic - I prefer to share the books I enjoyed and not invest time in writing about the ones I didn't.

There were no apologies or excuses given for Sherlock Holmes in Doyle's narration - he is who he is. I liked that. Despite the coke addiction, despite the brusque and supercilious nature, Holmes had a certain sense of justice even if he had little regard for the law. As a result, I think I am biased against perspectives that try to make him appear amiable and even congenial, or for that matter tyrannical and vindictive.

As long as they keep publishing such collections, I think I will keep reading them.

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