Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures

Sherlock Holmes
The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures
Edited by Mike Ashley
 "The biggest collection of stories about the world's greatest detective ever published. The majority are entirely new and specially commissioned, but there are also rare reprints of special appeal to the dedicated Holmes collectors."

   The term “mammoth” is often attributed to these kind of cheap paperback collections but here it’s an apt description. The book runs over five hundred pages with almost thirty stories plus a foreword and appendixes offering a complete Holmes case file and bibliography.
   So it’s big, but is it any good? The answer, perhaps surprisingly is yes. Pretty much all of the stories contained herein are entertaining and offer a series of new adventures for our favourite detective and his doting partner.

   Many of the stories contained in this book are written exclusively for this collection which may be a blessing for hardcore Holmes fans who run little risk of running into stories from other omnibuses of a similar bent.
   An interesting point in this book is the way the editor has laid out the stories. The shorts cover Holmes’ entire career, from his days as a schoolboy to his final days in the country keeping bees, and are laid out in chronological order. Many also come with a brief note at the beginning explaining where it should be placed in Arthur Conan Doyle’s original canon and even offer a little explanation as to why Watson never previously recorded them.
   In this manner it’s similar to Anthony Horowitz’s House of Silk, which suggested Watson was kept from releasing the story earlier due to its sensitive nature.

   As for the stories themselves, they’re all fairly well written and enjoyable with only a few bad apples in the mix. Stephen Baxter’s The Adventure of the Inertial Adjuster, a tale which sees Holmes team up with H.G. Wells and features a working Victorian antigravity device (as well as mutant mice) is the only story in the collection that I considered to be actually bad.
   For the most part the stories all offer up quick interesting mysteries which should satisfy those who’ve finished up with the original canon.
Sherlock Holmes   Few if any match up to the skill of Doyle himself, but as a book to delve into every now and then for a story or two it’s a fun collection.

   Do delve in on occasion though, this definitely isn’t a book to work through in one sitting as I did. After a time the stories do begin to bleed into each other and feel a little similar, to the point where I grew a little bored and wouldn’t pick the book up for a few days at a time.
   If you’re going to have it on the side of your main reading though, for an occasional dip, it’s a fun collection and well worth a place on your shelves next to the originals. 

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