Jun. 4, 2020

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part XVI: Whatever Remains Must Be the Truth (1881-1890)

The tales continue…

My thanks go out to Steve and Timi at MX Publishing for my copy of this book. Long may Sherlock Holmes and Undershaw House live and prosper! 

Volume XVI of this amazing series contains sixteen short works of Sherlock Holmes fiction by some of the best writers it has ever been my pleasure to come to know. Hopefully, the few words I say about each story will whet the reader's appetite without spoiling the story. So onward to this selection of tantalizing tales!

 

After the usual introductory essays, the book proper begins with a poem by Josh Pachter, using data from The Hound of the Baskervilles.

  • Derrick Belanger opens the book with “The Wylington Lake Monster.” Watson is asked by a friend to visit at Wylington Lake where he runs steamer tours. Then one of his neighbors is killed by a water creature called an “eachy.” You have a real winner here, Derrick! Excellent!
  • Mark Sonn is next, with “The Juju Men of Richmond.” Watson is consulted on a man who is apparently dead—yet he has a pulse and is breathing! The story is a complex mystery and I am not sure the ending is as good as the beginning. It starts off with a very clever trick, but the ending is rather dull.
  • Tracy Revels is up next with “The Adventure of the Headless Lady.” A woman seeks help to prevent a woman from murdering her husband, but the woman in question has been dead 600 years! A stirring accomplishment. Well done!
  • Kevin Thornton is next with “Angelus Domini Nuntiavit (The Angel of the Lord Declared.) A nun comes to Holmes concerned about her brother who seems under the spell of a lady companion. It grows on you.
  • Andrew Bryant is next with “The Blue Lady of Dunraven.” The Blue Lady seems to be the legendary ghost of Dunraven Castle. Not bad at all.
  • Josh Anderson and David Friend are next with “The Adventure of the Ghoulish Grenadier.” A man is haunted by his dead brother! It unfortunately is a bit predictable, but still good.
  • Brenda Seabrooke is up next with “The Curse of Barcombe Beach.” Two men in a row fall down a flight of stairs to their death and a third barely avoids it. An interesting investigation!
  • David Marcum is next with “The Affair of the Regressive Man.” A man living backwards in time? This is not your usual good work, David. Something about it does not work as a Holmes story sticking to canon.
  • IA Watson is next with “The Adventure of the Giant’s Wife.” Holmes is consulted on a suspected murder connected to the excavation of an ancient English barrow. I always love IA Watson’s research and footnotes.
  • Arthur Hall is up next with “The Adventure of Miss Anna Truegrace.” Watson brings Holmes a client who is a self-proclaimed “visionary” what would today be called a psychic. She says she has had visions of being murdered by her brother. So with Holmes’ views on the supernatural, what keeps him on this case? Not bad at all.
  • Tim Gambrell is next with “The Haunting of Bottomly’s Grandmother.” Constable Bottomly’s grandmother, something of a disreputable woman, has died and is now haunting her creditors! I do not think you will see this one coming! Terrific! Best in book as far as I am concerned!
  • Shane Simmons is up next with “The Adventure of the Intrusive Spirit.” A case about the ghost of a five-year-old girl, written by Wiggins, not Watson. The story is surprisingly good for one where Watson is not the author.
  • Bob Bishop is next with “The Paddington Poltergeist.” A friend of Mary Watson is haunted by a poltergeist. It is so-so.
  • Mark Mower is next with “The Spectral Pterosaur.” An Inspector Maddocks brings the case to 221B, where he dies. The story is iffy, but the mystery of the Inspector’s death is solid.
  • Kevin Jones is up next with “The Weird of Caxton.” The story deals with a family curse concerning a wolf. A little predictable, I thought.
  • Jayantika Ganguly ends the volume with “The Adventure of the Obsessive Ghost.” An old army friend of Watson’s, Captain Morgan, asks for help with a haunted estate in Scotland. It is OK.

I find it awesome that this series has reached sixteen volumes with more in sight and no plans to stop! The stories in this volume ran the gambit from excellent to so-so to the ones I did not really like. But I cannot see giving these volumes anything less than four stars out of five.

 

Quoth the Raven…