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  Bookends: Dan Davidson

Gaslight Grimoire: Fantastic Tales of Sherlock Holmes

Reviewed: March 18, 2009
By: edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec
Publisher: Edge Publishing
324 pages, $16.95

There are many writers who pay homage to the character of Sherlock Holmes by extending his adventures beyond the original canon of four novels and fifty-six short stories. A article in Wikipedia lists over 115 writers who have tried their hands at various lengths, and still misses several that I have on my shelves. To my mind, the most enjoyable of these efforts are usually the short stories, and so I am always happy to find another collection of works by diverse hands.

While Sherlock Holmes was firmly of the opinion that supernatural agencies did no exist and that only objective reality had a place in rational discussion, his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was not so firmly grounded. Aside from his obsession with fairies later in his life, he wrote many non-Holmes stories in which otherworldly powers and places played a part.

The theme of most of the eleven short stories in this engaging collection is that there were times when Holmes was faced with things which were not dreamt of in his philosophy. Two of them deal with other matters related to Holmes in some way but using the same notion.

Between these covers you will meet Peter Pan, an evil djinn, several ghosts, the dinosaurs of Professor Challenger’s Lost World (another Doyle creation), an artist who practices murder by portraiture, a woman possessed by an other dimensional being, Dracula, and “monsters from Mars”.

While most Holmes’ collections feature a number of name authors, the list depending on the theme, this enjoyable volume was filled with material by writers I had never heard of before. Only Barbara Hambly, an author who writes science fiction, fantasy and mysteries, was familiar to me.

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