What’s New in 2018: Top Holmes Gifts for Sherlockians – by The Best of Sherlock Holmes
2018 Sherlock Holmes Books – Fiction
The year’s best fictional Holmes books published in 2018.
A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper
Jack the Ripper struck less than a year after Holmes’s debut, and many pastiches put Holmes on the Ripper case. In a twist reminiscent of Murder Rooms, Harper has Conan Doyle and Joseph Bell investigate the Ripper murders. They team up with socialist/feminist Margaret Harkness, who displays aspects of Irene Adler. This mashup of real historical figures in fictionalized roles works pretty well, although Harper pushes the limits when he includes Mark Twain. Harkness ends up as the most interesting character, and the fast pace should please thriller readers and Ripper fanatics. ($15.95 SRP; Amazon US listing $10.97)
Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities by James Lovegrove
With rather more than a wink and a nod to the reader, Lovegrove mixes Holmes with H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. While more of a supernatural adventure than a mystery, Holmes does make some good deductions. It includes many references to the original Holmes tales, and we learn those are actually based on more macabre events in this alternate universe. Like A Study in Scarlet, the second part of this book tells a separate backstory. You don’t have to read the first book in this series to enjoy this one, and a third volume arrives on November 27. However, it certainly helps to have a basic background on Cthulhu. ($14.95 SRP; Amazon US listing $10.37)
The Irregular by H.B. Lyle
Wiggins, the former head of Holmes’s band of street-urchin assistants, is a British Army veteran who reluctantly becomes a secret agent investigating a terrorist conspiracy. Grittier than the Holmes tales, this fast-paced spy thriller offers a compelling blend of action and deduction, with vivid characters and excellent descriptions of 1909 London. Holmes makes a brief appearance. The book should appeal to Sherlockians as well as fans of historical mystery or espionage. A fine start for what promises to be a fascinating series, the sequel The Red Ribbon will be released in mid-November. ($16.99 SRP; Amazon US listing $11.55)
Holmes Entangled by Gordon McAlpine
Conan Doyle knows that someone is trying to kill him, and turns to Sherlock Holmes for help. By no means a traditional Holmes mystery or pastiche, this work of metafiction is imaginative with clever insights and speculations on the Canon and its characters. It is mostly narrated by Holmes with a sophisticated style and a dry sense of humor. Featuring a story within a story, as well as aspects of quantum physics and the multiverse, you’re more likely to enjoy this tale if you have some wider knowledge of literature and/or science. ($13.95 SRP; Amazon US listing $10.23)
The Further Chronicles of Sherlock Holmes (Vol. 1 & 2) by Denis O. Smith
You simply cannot beat Denis O. Smith for traditional Holmes stories that capture the style and characters of Conan Doyle. Several of the tales in this collection are excellent, and all the rest are very good. If you’ve never read Smith, get this collection now! You’ll also want to consider his New Chronicles and Lost Chronicles. Smith fans should note that 6 of the 12 stories in the Further Chronicles have appeared in other books. The paperback version of Further Chronicles (also in Kindle format) is split into two books, with Volume 2 perhaps slightly better. ($34.95 SRP; Amazon US listing; or $14.95 paperback Volume 1 and Volume 2.)
2018 Books About Holmes & Conan Doyle
The year’s best books about Holmes or Conan Doyle published in 2018.
The Serpentine Muse on CD-ROM
Old issues of Sherlockian journals are often difficult to find, and even if you own copies, they typically lack cumulative indexes. A few, such as the eBSJ v2, have been scanned, and this new CD-ROM from the archives of the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes is a most welcome addition. It contains the complete run of 134 issues of The Serpentine Muse from its inception in April 1975 through Spring 2017. The scanned PDFs feature searchable text provided via good-quality OCR, and it includes a searchable Acrobat index. This mix of scholarly articles and fun reading at a great price is a must-buy! ($15 and free shipping; not on Amazon, see ASH website)
Conan Doyle For The Defense by Margalit Fox
Conan Doyle intervened in a number of real-life crimes, including the case of Oscar Slater. Fox excels at providing context and background for American readers, and goes well beyond the Slater affair to discuss the evolution of detection and forensics. Even if you don’t care about Slater, people interested in history or true-crime should find this a fascinating read. Its main weakness is an overemphasis on police bias, given later allegations that the police knew the actual murderer and covered it up. But Fox tells this history very well indeed, and holds your interest through the entire book. ($27.00 SRP; Amazon US listing $18.36)
Trenches by Robert Katz and Andrew Solberg (eds.)
While Conan Doyle once said that Holmes was too old to serve in WWI, he did involve Holmes as a secret agent in “His Last Bow.” This volume examines Holmes and Conan Doyle in the First World War. It reproduces the extant manuscript for “His Last Bow,” five original drawings by Frederic Dorr Steele for the story, and Conan Doyle’s manuscript of a poem about the war. Transcriptions, annotations, and discussions of the origins of these items provide context for the creations. A fine collection of essays, both historical and playing “the game,” explore many related topics. ($39.95 SRP; not on Amazon; see BSI website)
A Chronology of the Life of Arthur Conan Doyle by Brian W. Pugh (fourth edition, 2018)
When writing about Conan Doyle, or fact-checking someone’s claim about him, Pugh’s Chronology is the place to start. It provides a master index to more than 2,000 books, articles and select primary sources about Sir Arthur. The chronological listing of events includes the sources for dating each event. This 2018 edition expands the book’s main entries by 40 pages, offers citations with more detail than prior editions, and has an improved index. Online stores might carry older editions, so be sure to get the book with “2018” in the upper right corner, as linked here. ($34.95 SRP; Amazon US listing $34.95)
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