This is the third volume of "stories inspired by the Holmes canon" edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger. Like the first two volumes, A Study in Sherlock and In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, this is a collection of stories by a varied, eclectic mix of authors. The only thing the stories have in common is that they are somehow inspired by the original Sherlock Holmes stories by A. Conan Doyle. Some of them take place in the Victorian era, some are modern-day, some fall elsewhere in history. Some have canonical characters, some don't.
Like I did when reviewing the first two collections, I'm going to tell you a little about my five favorite stories in this book.
"Holmes on the Range" by John Connolly involves a mysterious place called the Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository where fictional characters whose authors have passed away come to live in quiet retirement amongst others of their kind. When Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson show up BEFORE their author dies, but after Holmes has been sent hurtling over Reichenbach Falls, it threatens to mess up the entire retirement system. This story kind of reminded me of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books in that you have ordinary people interacting with fictional ones.
"Before a Bohemian Scandal" by Tasha Alexander concerns the Crown Prince of Bohemia when he meets Irene Adler and has his fling with her prior to the events in the canonical story "A Scandal in Bohemia." I love stories that fill in gaps in other stories, or give you a glimpse of what happened before or after a story, so I definitely enjoyed this one for those reasons.
"Raffa" by Anne Perry has an actor famous for portraying Sherlock Holmes on TV trying to help a little girl rescue her kidnapped mother. He hates playing Holmes, hates that he gets confused with the character, but can't help but want to help the child, especially since no one else is taking her seriously.
"Understudy in Scarlet" by Hallie Ephron is about an aging actress asked to be in a remake of the film that made her famous, an adaptation of "A Scandal in Bohemia." She gradually realizes someone is plotting against her and must use her wits and acting ability to figure out who and save herself from ruin. It's a lot of fun, with overtones of All About Eve and an ending I very much liked.
"The Adventure of the Empty Grave" by Jonathan Maberry follows Dr. John Watson as he visits the grave of his friend Sherlock Holmes and meets a very strange stranger there who knows more about Watson, Holmes, and Moriarty than he ought to. This was probably my favorite story in the whole collection, filled with emotions, surprises, and lovely details.
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-13 for language, innuendo, violence, and dangerous situations. Nothing explicit, but some will find the subject matter of some stories distasteful.
This is my eighth book read and reviewed for the Adventure of Reading Challenge and my sixth for the Mount TBR Challenge 2017.