No singular variety but rather a multiple range of truths

January is the great detective Sherlock Holmes' birthday month and he has been my childhood hero for a decade so I decided to celebrate him this year by reading and reviewing four Holmesian anthologies and this is the third for that rundown. A collection edited by Michael Kurland (who also happened to contribute his own story for this one), My Sherlock Holmes has quite an interesting unifying theme to its thirteen pieces. Where other anthologies still often make use of Dr. John Watson as its first-person narrator, this volume allows other characters from the canon to share their perspective of events regarding never-before-published cases of the great detective. Ranging from the familiar ones to the most obscure, some of the tales span for more than ten pages with two of three of them savory in length and pace. According to its general introduction, My Sherlock Holmes borrows the stylistic approach of the famous Japanese story Rashomon where each character has his or her own version of the truth. True to that essence, some of the stories presented are conflicting accounts from some of the canonically established representations of Watson's narratives about certain cases. Others are new concepts altogether that challenge the preconceived notions we have about Sherlock Holmes and his relationships with people or crime-solving itself.

Of all the thirteen, I can recommend seven of the stories. A lot of these stories prove to be challenging, admittedly, because the length surprisingly exceeds what I'm normally used to with anthologies such as this. For some, such length is justifiable and has made the entire story enjoyable and exciting to read while a few others just bored me to no end. My absolute favorite of all has to be Call me Wiggins by Norman Schreiber whose primary POV is the former Baker Street Irregular urchin of the same name. What I love about this story is the fact that Charles Lutwidge Dodgson makes a fictional appearance as one of Holmes' closest friends and Wiggin's mentor. Dodgson is more popularly known as the author Lewis Caroll who wrote the immortal Alice stories. The story presents the simplest of mysteries and yet inevitably the most tragic and it's such a whimsical and delightful look at one of history's most eccentric writers and his relationship (granted it's fictional) with the great detective. It's just really awesome for a Caroll fan like me.

Other gratifying stories are The Incident of the Impecunious Chevalier by Richard Lupoff that explored the POV of Agustin M. Dupin, Edgar Allan Poe's own great detective, who suffered much criticsm from Holmes in A Study in Scarlet so this is the story where he aims to remedy that misconception; The Dollmaker of Marigold Walk by Barbara Hambly that is written in Mary Morstan's POV concerning a series of abductions that are akin to that of the Jack the Ripper; Mycroft's Great Game by Gary Lovisi which is an amazing alternate interpretation of the events of The Final Problem regarding the deathly confrontation between Holmes and Moriarty; and Michael Kurland's own contribution piece Years Ago in a Different Place that explores the early friendship between Holmes and Moriarty in college where an unfortunate fallout between them occurs during Holmes' very first criminal investigation. We also have characters we have never considered prominent before such as Amelia Pettrigrew who is supposedly the second wife of John Watson after Mary, and she is present in Michael Mallory's The Riddle of the Young Protestor, where she gets to do some deductive reasoning herself concerning an antique treasure hunt riddle.

Finally, we have And the Others by C.D Ewing, whose format reads much like Chuck Palahnuik's novel Rant where the writer supposedly gathered interviews and testimonials from Gregory Lestrade, James Mortimer, Arthur Conan Doyle himself etc. about the things they remember the most about the great detective. In addition, we also have stories written in the POVs of Irene Adler, Sebastian Moran, and Reginald Musgrave. These stories were okay but not instantly captivating unlike the others mentioned above but they are notable because these characters are well-known.

My Sherlock Holmes is a fairly decent and worthwhile read for anyone who considers himself or herself a Holmesian aficionado. There are great gems to found in this volume whose lengthy narratives are justifiable because of the tantalizing content they delivered.



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