A Study In Sherlock Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
January 22nd, 2012 by Aldouspi

Here is the latest featured review of a Sherlock Holmes Pastiche: "A Study In Sherlock:  Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon" Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger...

A Study In Sherlock

Sherlock Holmes Pastiches and Reviews: 

"A Study In Sherlock" Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger

Reviewed By Scott Harker

Publisher:   Bantam Books, Copyright 2011, First Edition, Trade Paperback.

"A Study In Sherlock" Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger is a collection of 16 stories where the stories are justified as being Sherlock Holmes pastiches be dint of the authors being somehow inspired by the Sherlock Holmes canon by Sir Author Conan Doyle. In this collection of short tales, Sherlock Holmes may or may not appear, but there is some type of reference or association to the consulting detective. Authors include Alan Bradley, Laura Lippman, Charles Todd and Neil Gaiman amongst others.

The publisher of this book has done a good job of marketing the volume. There have been many reviews and I even heard an interview with Laurie King on PBS which mentioned the book in passing. Despite the touting of praise this advertising campaign generated, I found the anthology to be disappointing. Please understand me that the stories here are well written and interesting by themselves. But as a collection of Sherlock Holmes related stories, the question arises where is Holmes in these stories?

The theme uniting this anthology is that the authors were inspired by Holmes at some point in their lives - perhaps they read the original stories when they were 13 or in college and remember the experience fondly. And thus they were invited to submit stories to the editors. But being inspired didn't mean they all actually wrote stories where Holmes or Watson or associated characters actually appear... With a few exceptions, Holmes and Watson are absent from the stories. And that is what I found disappointing.

When I buy a collection about Sherlock Holmes, I expect to find the detective placed in new situations where his talents and personality will be challenged and new insights (and thrills) will be given to the reader. Oh well...

The Stories:  The first story in the collection is "You'd Better Go In Disguise" by Alan Bradley. The protagonist is visiting a park. As he tells of what he sees and his reasons for being in the park, we realize that we are looking at the last few events before he is captured by Holmes and Watson.

"The Entwined" by J. R. Campbell finds Sherlock Holmes visiting a woman in a madhouse. She confesses to murders that she could not do and as Holmes interrogates her - he glimpses another reality beyond our own.

Another well written story that I liked was "The Adventure of the Purlioned Paget" by Phillip Margolin and Jerry Margolin. It is a modern period story where a gathering of Sherlock Holmes collectors is marred when an original illustration by Sidney Paget goes missing. No Holmes or Watson here, but the mystery and writing make for a pleasant read.

A story that was a real stretch for inclusion here was "The Last of Sheila Locke-Holmes" by Laura Lippman. A young girl decides to be a detective and uses the pseudonym of Locke-Holmes. She investigates her parents and find some flaws. This is a coming of age story that has nothing to do with Sherlock Holmes.

And finally, here is another story that illustrates my disappointment: "The Eyak Interpreter" by Dana Stabenow. Here the author uses one of her own established characters, Kate Shugak. Set in Alaska, Kate investigates the unusual kidnapping and then return of a young native Alaskan. The setting and the style of the story is fine and I had never heard of the Kate Shugak, but would found myself wanting to read other stories about her. Still no Holmes here. It was only upon reading the afterword that I was informed that this story was some how associated with the original canon: The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter." I missed the connection completely. My bad or the editors' bad?

In conclusion: There are some good Holmes stories here. In fact, Neil Gaiman's "The Case of Death and Honey" make picking up the book worthwhile on its own merit, but it should have been printed in a real Sherlock Holmes anthology. Unfortunately, for me, there are too many non-Holmes stories printed in the volume to make for a satisfactory reading.

The Rating: ... I give this book 2 "Pipes." It is not that there aren't a lot of good stories here, but I found too many that I would not call an actual Sherlock Holmes pastiche. Your definition of a Sherlock Holmes pastiche may be different, so you may want to give the book a try...

To Purchase on Amazon:  A Study in Sherlock: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger

Click here for another post
about King's Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes novels.

A Study in Sherlock

The part where Jeremy Brett's portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is discussed in BBC4's 'A Study in Sherlock' documentary. With comments from Edward Hardwicke and Michael Cox. The programme also 'played the game' as 'Dr. Watson' narrates -_^

Dedicated to the World's First Consulting Detective:  Sherlock Holmes!

To see a listing of 100's of Sherlock Holmes Pastiches with abbreviated reviews,
please visit:  List of Sherlock Holmes Pastiches

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