The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories: Otto Penzler, editor

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I’vholmese been reading this anthology (785 pages) slowly, since the beginning of March, dipping in at bedtime or when insomnia loomed. Editor Otto Penzler notes in his introduction: “This collection of Sherlock Holmes parodies and pastiches is the largest ever assembled.”

As other reviewers have noted, Penzler included a few embarrassingly amateur efforts, including Kenneth Millar’s “first fictional writing” for his high school magazine, which featured Herlock Sholmes, and was just as bad as you might expect. In general, the entries with a jumbled name—Sherlaw Kombs, Picklock Holes, Herlock Shomes—were the corniest.

Other stories, however were clever, convincing re-imaginings and extensions of the Holmes tradition. Some I’ve read before but was happy to re-read, such as “Mrs. Hudson’s Case” by Laurie R. King and “The Startling Events in the Electrified City” by Thomas Perry. More favorites were “The Case of the Friesland Outrage” (June Thompson) and “But Our Hero Was Not Dead” (Manly Wade Wellman).

An added benefit: Penzler’s brief profile of each author provided clues to other promising Holmes anthologies. The game’s (still) afoot!