A Study in Sherlock by Laurie King & Leslie Klinger, editors © 2011, Bantam Books 2011 trade paper, mystery short story collection – multiple author
“In 19th century England, a new kind of hero—a consulting detective—blossomed in the mind of an underemployed doctor and ignited the world’s imagination. In the thirteen decades since A Study in Scarlet first appeared, countless variations on that theme have been played, from Mary Russell to Greg House, from ‘Basil of Baker Street’ to the new BBC Holmes-in-the-Internet-age.
Now, you don’t generally “do” Sherlock Holmes. Which is precisely why we’re writing, because we suspect that you have in the back of your mind a story that plays a variation on the Holmes theme.
All we ask is that you let the Holmes stories inspire you. You might want to write a straight Holmes pastiche, or a graphic story, or a tale about Mycroft or Mrs. Hudson or Billy the page. The story may take place in Victorian Baker Street, or in Mughal India—or on the first manned flight to Mars. Perhaps the plot takes inspiration from a Conan Doyle tale? Or your detective suspects that his case is related to one Holmes faced? Or…”
So that’s the set-up and the authors listed here delivered: Alan Bradley, Tony Broadbent, Jan Burke, Lionel Chetwynd, Lee Child, Colin Cotterill, Michael Dirda, Neil Gaiman, Laura Lippman, Gayle Lynds, John Sheldon, Phillip Margolin, Margaret Maron, Thomas Perry, S. J. Rozan, Dana Stabenow, Charles Todd and Jackie Winspear.
The only problem with this setup is probably obvious. You get exactly what you asked for, a variety of stories from very entertaining Holmes pastiches to way-out-in-left-field things that take more thought to figure out how they might be connected to the canon than is worth the energy to give.
Some of the stories here are, as I said, very entertaining. I particularly liked he stories by S.J. Rozen, Alan Bradley, Margaret Maron and Dana Stabenow. Charles Todd’s story was excellent, Jan Burke’s story thought-provoking. The rest went from so-so to feh. I’m glad I read it for the good stuff, but if it hadn’t been a gift, I’d have been best off getting it from the library.