I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with all things Sherlock – TV show(s), movies, books, mugs, t-shirts, you name it. If it has anything to do with Sherlock Holmes, I need it. About a year ago, I got Sherlock Holmes in America, an anthology of Sherlock stories edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Jon Lellenberg, and Daniel Stashower, on Audible (I think it might have been a daily deal). But I’d never listened to it. I still haven’t read all the original stories, and I wanted to finish those first. But, since the original stories are something like 1,700 pages and this book fulfilled one of the challenges for the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge, I decided to go for it. (Please forgive any misinformation in this review, I had a hard time going back through the book to find what I wanted to talk about because I listened to it on audiobook, and couldn’t take notes since I was driving.)
Sherlock Holmes in America is a short story anthology about Sherlock Holmes in America (with the exception of one story, “The Seven Walnuts” in which the mystery is solved by Harry Houdini and his brother – who take their inspiration from Sherlock – and Sherlock never sets foot in the States). The stories are all by authors who have previously written about Sherlock, so that was kind of cool. I had no idea there were so many non-Conan Doyle sherlock stories out there! I really enjoyed all of the different writing styles and stories. A lot of them were written in the same manner as the originals; that is to say, they were accounts of Sherlock’s cases “written” by John Watson. There are a few exceptions: one story is told from the perspective of Mycroft, which I thought was really interesting, another is written from Sherlock’s point of view, and there’s the one about the Houdini brothers. For the most part, I did enjoy the stories. My favorites were “The Case of Colonel Crockett’s Violin” and “The Adventure of the Boston Dromio” (it’s entirely possible I liked the latter mostly because it involved cats and Boston). But there were a few I didn’t like so much. In “The Song at Twilight,” much of the story is focuses on a brief relationship Sherlock has, and (though I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing it on the BBC show) a Sherlock Holmes sex scene just feels very un-Sherlock. For me, it was just so unexpected and weird. Especially because there is at least a 30-year age difference between Sherlock (who’s in his 60s) and this girl. It was one of the longest stories in the book, and there wasn’t even any real mystery. And what there was, Mycroft spells out for Sherlock at the end, because Sherlock spends the whole story flirting and not figuring anything out. The story ends with Sherlock saying he holds his promise to this girl above his country and his loyalty to his brother, because he loves her. I just didn’t get it. If Sherlock Holmes is/was ever in love, it was with Irene Adler, and this girl was no Irene Adler. Ok, rant over.
Like I said, I enjoyed the stories for the most part, I just kind of wish the book had ended on a stronger note. Were these stories as good as the originals? Probably not. But they were a fun read, and I think any Sherlock aficionado might enjoy this book. (P.S. the audiobook narration was great, if you’re into audiobooks!)