Book Review: More Holmes for the Holiday edited by Martin H. Greenberg & co.

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Book Reviews, Reading | Posted on 21-08-2012

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More Holmes for the HolidaysMore Holmes for the Hol­i­days by Mar­tin H. Green­berg
My rat­ing: 3 of 5 stars

Mar­tin H. Green­berg and com­pa­ny have pro­vid­ed a fine col­lec­tion of Sher­lock­ian hol­i­day sto­ries that fit in quite well with the tra­di­tion­al set.

“The Christ­mas Gift” by Anne Per­ry is a nice lit­tle piece about a stolen Stradi­var­ius and a cou­ple who want to mar­ry against the wish­es of the young lady’s father. There is an excel­lent red her­ring, one of the few in this anthol­o­gy.

In “The Four Wise Men” by Peter Lovesey, Wat­son must answer a call to duty from his for­mer com­mand­ing offi­cer in the Army, in order to help guard a medieval trea­sure in a Christ­mas pageant. The game is soon afoot, and Sher­lock­’s pow­ers of obser­va­tion are as keen as ever.

Bar­bara Paul’s “Eleemosy­nary, My Dear Wat­son” gives Holmes a jew­el theft and a kid­nap­ping to solve, which he does in his inim­itable way. One clue seemed slight­ly too obvi­ous to me, but it may not to oth­er read­ers.

In “The Adven­ture of the Great­est Gift” by Loren D. Estle­man, Holmes receives a wax cylin­der con­tain­ing a record­ing of a song pop­u­lar in Amer­i­ca. He takes it as a warn­ing of a crime which could lead to war between Britain and France, and of course he leaps into action. This is Mycroft Holmes’ only appear­ance in the vol­ume.

There’s plen­ty of mis­di­rec­tion in “The Case of the Rajah’s Emer­ald” by Car­olyn Wheat. Some­how, though, I sus­pect­ed one of the great rev­e­la­tions in this one from the begin­ning, but I could­n’t tell you exact­ly why. It did­n’t ruin the sto­ry for me, and there was still a sur­prise at the end.

On the oth­er hand, Edward D. Hoch’s “The Christ­mas Con­spir­a­cy” man­aged to take me com­plete­ly unawares. I could­n’t fath­om why the crime would be com­mit­ted or by whom, despite hav­ing a major clue dropped by one char­ac­ter. Very well done!

“The Music of Christ­mas” by L.B. Green­wood telegraphed the iden­ti­ty of the crim­i­nal from the start, but was well worth read­ing. One of the char­ac­ters also tugged at the heart­strings.

Bill Crid­er’s “The Adven­ture of the Christ­mas Bear” is large­ly mem­o­rable because of the appear­ance of Oscar Wilde as a char­ac­ter.

“The Adven­ture of the Nat­u­ral­ist’s Stock Pin” by Jon L. Breen gives us Charles Dar­win as Holmes’ client. The mys­tery is less Sher­lock­ian than some of the oth­ers, but I did­n’t mind read­ing it.

Daniel Stashow­er’s “The Adven­ture of the Sec­ond Vio­let” was an inter­est­ing twist on a well-known Christ­mas sto­ry. I can­not say more with­out spoil­ing it, but he has a nice touch.

“The Human Mys­tery” by Tanith Lee is as dark as I expect from her, and was a depress­ing end­ing to the col­lec­tion. It was, how­ev­er, very well-writ­ten.

The anthol­o­gy left me hun­gry for more Holmes, and wish­ing that I weren’t between sea­sons of BBC’s Sher­lock or that I had anoth­er col­lec­tion of sto­ries on hand. That’s the sign of a suc­cess, I think.

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