The Confidential Casebook of Sherlock Holmes
Edited by Marvin Kaye 1998
Reviewed by Charles Prepolec
This is Marvin Kaye’s third Holmes anthology. Like all anthologies, the quality of the stories vary widely. The overall product is very good and this one is much better than his last outing, “The Resurrected Holmes” in that these are straight pastiches, not authors pretending to write in the  style of a great author writing in the Doyle vein. (I know this sounds convoluted but it makes sense i.e.:Marvin Kaye writing a Holmes story in the way he imagines Rex Stout would.) Fortunately the umbrella premise for this book is more straightforward, here the linking theme is stories that were suppressed by Watson to avoid scandal. There are some interesting stories here that come very close to the Doyle style while others are stylistically different yet effective all the same. An example of the former is “The Darlington Substitution Scandal” by Henry Slesar. This little tale bears certain similarities to The Man with the Twisted Lip but has far more sinister implications. A frightfully powerful example of the latter is provided by P.C. Hodgel in his remarkable memoir of Holmes childhood entitled “A Ballad of the White Plague”. While no collection is perfect this one (as well as “The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures” edited by Mike Ashley. Carroll & Graf 1997) ranks very highly.

Reviewed by Charles Prepolec
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