Tag Archives: Sherlock Holmes

Review: A Study in Sherlock, edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger

A Study in Sherlock I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading A Study in Sherlock. The tagline is “stories inspired by the Holmes Canon”, so I was thinking the stories would be about Sherlock Holmes.

Which would have been fine. It’s been a while since I read one of the original Holmes stories, but I quite enjoyed them when I did. Whether anyone could write a Holmes story that way Arthur Conan Doyle could – well, that I wasn’t too sure about. Still, I was willing to find out.

I was pleasantly surprised, though, to discover that while the stories in A Study in Sherlock have to do with Sherlock Holmes, very few of them actually had Holmes as a character in the story. And those that did feature Holmes himself were written in a different style than the original Holmes stories.

Since my latest, greatest media indulgence is the BBC series Sherlock, it was also refreshing to find that several of the stories were set in the present day. (But no, not with Holmes as an actual character … )

I didn’t like every story in the anthology, but really, that’s the nature of an anthology, isn’t it? With all the different writing styles showcased, there are bound to be a few that you might not like. Since I have no problems with not finishing something that doesn’t catch my attention, when I came across one that didn’t really suit me as a reader, I just quickly flipped over to the next story.

There were also a few stories in which the whole Holmes connection rather escaped me, but on reading the little author blurb at the end of the story, usually there was reference to how the story was very similar to one of the original Holmes stories.

I did enjoy most of the stories, though. When I finished the last one, it was with regret that there weren’t a few more to read.

My favorites? It’s hard to choose, but I’d have to say:

“As to ‘An Exact Knowledge of London”’” by Tony Broadbent. Broadbent is a new-to-me author, but after reading this story, I’ve put his novel The Smoke (about a roguish Cockney cat burglar in postwar London who gets blackmailed into working for M15 and is then trained by Ian Fleming) on my to-read list. I think the thing that appealed to me most about this story was how Broadbent integrated the pop culture aspect of Holmes into the narrative.

The Case of Death and Honey” by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman’s tale was one of the few in the book that actually featured Holmes as a character, but it’s not told in the style of Doyle. It is pure Gaiman – imaginative and thought provoking. Very enjoyable.

A Triumph of Logic” by Galey Lynds and John Sheldon. I admit, I figured out whodunnit soon after we visited the scene of the crime, but what I liked about this one were the main characters, Judge Boothby and Artie. Sheldon is working on his first suspense novel which will feature these two characters, so I’m adding this to my to-watch-for list (or rather, I would, if I kept such a list. Which I really should.)

The Eyak Interpreter”, by Dana Stabenow. This story features Stabenow’s Kate Shugak. The first Kate Shugak mystery, A Cold Day for Murder, has been sitting in my TBR pile for a while. After reading this story, I’m definitely moving it up near the top of the file. (By the way, the Kindle version of A Cold Day for Murder I’ve linked to above is currently free.) The short story is told from the perspective of Johnny (I’m not sure what relation he is to Kate), a teenager who’s in Anchorage and blogging about it as part of a school assignment. A fun way to structure a story.

I liked several of the other stories too. For example, Jacqueline Winspear’s “A Spot of Detection” had a nice, unexpected twist at the end that made me smile. Charles Todd’s “The Case That Holmes Lost” has a very fun premise – someone is suing Sherlock Holmes, the fictional character.

All in all, this was a great read. And it’s resparked my interest in reading mystery short stories; when I was in my 20s, I read a lot of mystery and science fiction short stories, and reading this anthology I was reminded how really nice it is to sit down with a well-written short story.

I’ve also decided to reread the original Holmes stories. I put a hold on Leslie Klinger’s The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a start on that soon!

Some Bookish Television

Ward’s away on his trip to Okinawa, and if anyone had asked what I would be doing while he was away, I would have said, “Why, reading, of course.”

I even stocked up on a few audiobooks: Gambit, by Rex Stout (a reread), A Trick of the Light, by Louise Penny (I’ve been SO looking forward to this new Inspector Gamache mystery) and Outlander, by Diana Gibaldon (another reread, and an unexpected purchase – Audible had it on sale for two days for $4.95 so I snapped it up).

(Nothing in print or ebook, though – I also have a handful of deadlines coming due this week, and I find that when I spend my days staring at PDF proofs, I don’t feel much like staring at a page when I’m done for the day.)

I did get into Gambit – I find both Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Stout’s Nero Wolfe to be excellent companions during kitchen clean-up time.

But surprisingly, I’ve been watching TV series at night!

I’m not really one for television or movies, although when I sit down to watch something, I do usually enjoy it. We made the decision back when my two older kids were young to not do the cable or satellite thing; television time for us meant DVDs and VHS, and nowadays, a lot of online content, too.

The weekend started out, strangely enough, with X Factor auditions on YouTube. Earlier this year my daughter introduced me to The X Factor – we followed along on YouTube – and I really enjoyed them. The new season has just started, and the auditions are actually my favourite part of the series.

Once I’d watched the latest batch of auditions, though, I found myself wanting to watch other things. (This is probably how television addiction starts …)

So I fired up Netflix, something I almost never do. Netflix is Ward’s territory – he loves being able to watch all those reality cooking shows, and of course his action/adventure movies and chick flicks (which he enjoys even more than I do).

Guess what I found on Netflix? BBC’s Inspector Lynley series! I’m a fan of Elizabeth George’s Lynley books, and I ended up watching all four episodes of the show that Netflix had on offer.

And that’s when my eye was caught by Sherlock, also from the BBC. I remembered, vaguely, some Twitter conversation I’d seen last year about this series and how good it was. So last night, I watched the first two episodes.

imageSherlock (Photo credit)

Wow. I loved it! The whole idea of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson solving modern-day crimes is so much fun. I found both the characters and the mysteries very enjoyable.

On tonight’s agenda? More Sherlock – there are two is one more episodes episode right now on Netflix. And I’m hoping Netflix will be adding new episodes soon after they get broadcast. (Netflix for Canada doesn’t have quite the selection that Netflix in the States has, unfortunately).

What am I planning to watch after I finish the two one remaining episodes episode? Miss Marple, of course!

Can you tell? I’m really enjoying my bookish TV.

The Boy Sherlock Holmes: Eye of the Crow, by Shane Peacock

Despite appearances, I’ve actually had some time to read lately. Maybe “had some time to read” isn’t totally accurate – it’s been more like “squeezed some time to read” but regardless, it’s the end result that counts, right?

And I’ve been lucky, because everything I’ve picked up to read recently has turned out to be a good read. Eye of the Crow was a  really, really good read, in fact.

Eye of the CrowI picked up Eye of the Crow, by Shane Peacock, from the library one day; the “Silver Birch nominee” sticker on the spine caught my eye (as it turns out, it’s won a bunch of awards, including the Arthur Ellis Award for Juvenile Crime Fiction).

The book is about Sherlock Holmes’ first case, one undertaken when he’s a boy of just thirteen; I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan, and always on the lookout for good books about Holmes (Laurie King’s Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series is another favorite of mine).

But Eye of the Crow stayed sitting in the pile of books on my library shelf for most of the three weeks I had it out.

And then, luckily, one day I read Memory’s review of Death in the Air; it’s the sequel to Eye of the Crow. Memory mentioned that Death in the Air was a good read, but not as good as Eye of the Crow. I realized, “Hey! I have Eye of the Crow sitting in my library pile.”

So I dashed over to my library shelf, picked up the book, and started reading.

I didn’t stop until I’d finished the entire book. The day got darker, my to-do list stayed undone (which, when you think about it, is really not such a bad thing,  because it meant all I had to do was re-use the same list the next day, with a few more additions), but I finished the book, my heart racing because it was gloriously, gorgeously suspenseful.

I know this is a children’s book, but the fact is, once you start reading, you’ll find yourself drawn into the world of 1860s London – drawn so deeply in you can almost smell the grime and feel the grit. And you’re not going to be thinking to yourself, I’m reading a children’s book – you’re going to be too deep in the story to remember that you actually are reading a book.

And really, that’s the best kind of book to sink your teeth into.

Peacock has done an amazing job. His boy Sherlock Holmes gives the adult Sherlock Holmes exactly the right childhood background – all the pieces fall into place. The reasons behind why Holmes is the way he is are all there, in the childhood backstory that Peacock has created for the adult Holmes in Eye of the Crow.

Not to mention, the suspense builds and builds and builds. This one is a keeper, and for the Sherlock Holmes fan, a must read.

Review: The Case of the Missing Marquess, by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Missing MarquessFrom the Back of book:

When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared, she quickly sets off to find her. Disguising herself as a widow, Enola embarks on a journey to London, but nothing can prepare her for what awaits. For when she arrives, she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, and must fee murderous villains and try to elude her shrewd older brothers – all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother’s strange disappearance. Among all the mayhem, will Enola be able to discover the necessary clues and find her mother?

The Snapshot Review

What I Liked: Strong, independent and smart, Enola is a very likeable protagonist; pace is fast and intense; the writing paints the world of Sherlock Holmes’ London vividly. Not one, but two mysteries …and there are ciphers!

First Line: "The only light struggles from the few gas street-lamps that remain unbroken, and from pots of fire suspended above the cobblestones, tended by old men selling boiled sea snails outside the public houses." (From the prologue – the rest of the novel is in first person.)

Ms. Bookish’s Very Quick Take: A good read, with the action really kicking into high gear as we get further into the story. Very nice wrap-up, too. I finished reading this with a smile, eager to jump into the next book in the series.

Read the Full Review of The Case of the Missing Marquess