Jun. 8, 2020

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part VII Whatever Remains Must Be the Truth (1891 - 1898)

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 seventeen 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 Christopher James. Nice visual!

  • Charles Veley and Anna Elliott begin the volume with “The Spectre of Scarborough Castle.” The Commissioner of Police for Scarborough comes to Holmes. A specter has been haunting the castle in Scarborough and a man has been found dead with his skull crushed! This story is solid. Excellent.
  • Stephen Philip Jones is next with “The Story for which the World Is Not Yet Prepared.” I always shudder when I see that title on a story or novel. To date, I have read over a dozen and liked exactly two. This is not one of them. A unique rat, I will give credit there.
  • Arthur Hall is next with” The Adventure of the Returning Spirit.” Watson, still heartbroken from the loss of Mary, is being haunted by her ghost! A beautifully written little mystery!
  • Michael Mallory is next with “The Adventure of the Bewitched Tenant.” A man consults Holmes when his tenant stops paying rent over a spirit board consultation.  It starts slow but it does grow on you.
  • Will Murray is up next with “The Misadventure of the Bonny Boy.” Holmes is summoned to Manchester by post to help a man recover his son. Wow! Riveting story, Will! Love it!
  • Paul D Gilbert is next with “The Adventure of the Danse Macabre.” Holmes takes a case for Lady Roberta Wakeham, a mystery contained within a poem. I enjoyed both the poem and the mystery; a most satisfying read!
  • S. Subramanian is next with The Strange Persecution of John Vincent Harden.” One of the mysteries mentioned in passing in the Holmes canon, Harden was known as the Tobacco King. Now Harden has been showing signs of paranoia. Not bad. Guest-starring Father Brown.
  • Roger Riccard is next with “The Dead Quiet Library.” Stanley Hopkins brings Holmes the case of murder in the library on St. Chad’s College campus on Chadwell Heath. The story is superb. The backstory is intriguing, the solving of the crime is clever, and just a solid read all around. Best in the book for me.
  • Stephen Herczeg is next with “The Adventure of the Sugar Merchant.” The story of a most unusual arson death. Intriguing! Fascinating! Bizarre! Great!
  • Tracy J Revels is next with “The Adventure of the Undertaker’s Fetch.” A rather unusually complexioned undertaker comes to Holmes complaining that he is being stalked by a doppelgänger, otherwise known as a “death fetch.” I like this one, Tracy. Well done.
  • Hugh Aston is next with “The Holloway Ghosts.” The story is presented as an audio play, which I do find a chore to read.  A man is found garroted in an unoccupied, locked house with recent ghostly manifestations. Not your best work, Hugh.
  • Chris Chan is next with “The Diogenes Club Poltergeist.” Mycroft is upset that members of the Diogenes Club are contacting Holmes over a supposed poltergeist in the club. Amusing.
  • Bert Coules is next with “The Madness of Colonel Warburton.” This is another of the cases mentioned in passing in the canon. And another radio play. I love to hear them performed but reading them is something else entirely. A remarkably interesting take on this mystery. I like it.
  • Jane Rubino is next with “The Return of the Nobel Bachelor.” Lord St. Simon calls on Holmes for help, ten years after the events of NOBE. An excellent story.
  • David Marcum is up next with “The Reappearance of Mr. James Phillimore.” A follow-up of sorts to the story of the man who vanished going back into the house for his umbrella. The lady who now owns the house is complaining of a haunting. Good one, David.
  • Geri Schear is next with “The Miracle Worker.” Holmes is visited by Lady Beatrice who relates a story that piques Holmes’ interests. It is an unusual story, told from Holmes’ viewpoint. It is a toss-up with me.
  • Dick Gillman closes out the volume with “The Hand of Mesmer.” A friend of Stamford at Bart’s is worried that a client is being conned by a mesmerizer. It is fair.

This volume had more stories that I liked than ones I felt were meh or poorly written, and I will give this volume five stars!

Quoth the Raven…