Between the British television series “Sherlock” and the American series “Elementary”, there has been a spate of Alt-Sherlock Holmes novels and anthologies. Here are a few that have come up in the last few years:
Baker Street Irregulars, edited by Michael Ventrella and Jonathan Maberry (Wildside Press, 2017, $16.99) brings a variety of authors together to find new and unusual ways to approach the Sherlock Holmes character and his (and sometimes her!) world. Jody Lynn Nye and David Gerrold envision Holmes as a being from another planet; Keith deCandido and Helen McLaughlin have a female Holmes, Mike Strauss has Holmes as a contemporary television host, while Austin Farmer’s Holmes helps Beethoven find his baton for the first performance of his Ninth Symphony. The best and weirdest story has Holmes in a birdcage! It’s a gathering of the weird, the wonderful and the wacky, well worth the read!
Three more Sf/Fantasy authors take on Sherlock Holmes in alt.sherlock.holmes (Abbadon Books, 2016, $9.99. Jamie Wyman has Homes (under the name Sanford “Crash” Haus) running a down-and-out carnival in Depression-era Indiana, with Watson as an African-American World War I veteran with both physical and mental wounds. Gini Koch’s Holmes is female, working in contemporary Los Angeles, where she and ex-soldier Watson find a murderer backstage at a television reality show. In Glen Mehn’s version, Holmes and Watson are gay lovers in the decadent New York City of the late 1960’s, finding conspiracies in the decadent cult surrounding Andy Warhol. Irine Adler pops up everywhere, and Homes is always Holmes, always in pursuit of justice. Not for the squeamish, but definitely fascinating.
Also not for the squeamish is Robert Ryan’s series, Dr. Watson Thrillers, which finds Dr. John Watson back in the military in World War I. Dead Man’s Land ((Simon and Schuster, 2013, $15.00) finds Watson in the trenches, where he comes upon a body with injuries that could not have been inflicted by gunfire.
In The Dead Can Wait (Simon and Schuster, 2014,$15.00), he’s back in England, where stumbles upon a deadly secret in what is supposed to be a super-secure testing ground for a new weapon, one that will change the face of war for all time.
In A Study in Murder (Simon and Schuster, 2015, $15.00), Watson is taken prisoner, and discovers a dark conspiracy in a German PoW camp.
The Sign of Fear (Simon and Schuster, 2016, $16..00) gets Watson involved with a series of hideous mutilations and the disappearance of a ship carrying wounded men supposedly torpedoes in the English Channel en route to home. Sherlock, now retired and keeping bees in Susses, turns up, as does brother Mycroft, and there are exuberant cameos by Winston Churchill. Watch out for a particularly deadly German spy, a fiendishly clever assassin, and a few old friends from The Canon. The last novel ended on a cliffhanger (in more ways than one!), so we may expect to see at least one more adventure for Dr. Watson before his wartime duty ends.
Roberta Rogow is a retired librarian who enjoys books with characters that grab you, often set in exotic places or in other times. She reads a lot of historical mysteries, but also enjoys Alternate History, and has been known to indulge in an orgy of“cozy crafty” mysteries, set in small-town America or villages in Great Britain.