Sherlock Holmes: The American Years
This collection of new short stories is inspired by the premise that Sherlock Holmes, at least once but possibly more frequently, set foot on American soil. As Leslie S. Klinger states in the foreword: “It is definite that Holmes visited America in 1912, in the guise of an Irish American named Altamont, beginning with a stay in Chicago, then moving to Buffalo.” Consequently, ten veteran authors have been challenged by Kurland to each concoct a fresh tale of mystery and adventure for the world’s first consulting detective. And they succeed admirably.
What results is a fascinating variety of plots with Sherlock at various stages of ability and emotional maturation, often linked with real or other fictional characters. It would be impossible to do justice to each pastiche in the collection (I apologize to those authors who go unmentioned here due to lack of space), but I found a few personal favorites. Richard Lupoff brings us the entire Holmes family in “Inga Sigerson Weds,” including Sherlock’s parents, elder brother Mycroft and sister Elizabeth, making Sherlock the baby of the family who is very much underappreciated by his siblings. In “My Silk Umbrella” Darryl Brock introduces Mark Twain to Holmes, which instigates an amusing battle of wits at an early baseball game in Hartford, Connecticut. “The Curse of Edwin Booth” by Carole Bugge involves Holmes as protection for Edwin Booth during a production of Hamlet, in the wake of his brother’s assassination of Lincoln. All offer an enjoyable read for Holmes fans who hunger for more of the Great Detective.