221 Baker Streets
Plenty to write Holmes about
Release Date: OUT NOW!
381 pages | £ 7.99 ( paperback) Editor: David Thomas Moore Publisher: Abaddon Books
The recycling of
popular characters is not the end of imagination; far from it. We say, with our pseud’s hat on, that western culture is in the throes of inventing a new pantheon of heroes to supplement Thor, Robin Hood, King Arthur et al. Sherlock Holmes is one of these secular myths.
Holmes is like the Doctor – geeky, dangerous, supremely intelligent, but on the side of the angels – and attracts similar adulation and peripheral activity like this anthology, which presents lady, metafictional, magically conjured, gay, near- future, contemporary, and teenaged- girl versions ( and more!) of the great man.
Assigning a score to a book of this type is a conundrum worthy of Holmes’s own intellect. All the stories are well penned, but being told primarily for the love of the character, they lack a purpose of their own. All have merit; none completely capture the essence of their inspiration.
Apeing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a tall order, so the stories that are most successful are those that deviate furthest from the template, or those that adroitly exploit the relationship between Holmes and Watson, A couple fail, but nobly. Perhaps the best is “A Study In Scarborough” by Guy Adams, whose bizarre yet artful recasting of the detective duo as 1970s comedy stars comes closest to catching the many facets of the originals. James Kingsley