Sunday, February 9, 2020

Shared Universe: Sherlock Holmes Anthologies

[A version of this essay originally appeared in Vol. 7, No. 2 (December 2019) of "Proceedings of the Pondicherry Lodge", the journal of The Sherlock Holmes Society of India]

In the beginning was The Canon, and it was good.
But it was not enough.

The Book of Holmes, (Chapter I, Verses 1-2)

As an energetic missionary for The Church of Holmes, spreading The Word about the world’s first (and for a time only) consulting detective, I honor The Canon, those original stories presented to us by Dr. John H. Watson, with the assistance of the First (but not the only) Literary Agent, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But those original sixty published adventures, a pitiful few detailing a scant fraction of the lives of Our Heroes, aren’t the whole story. While they are the main strands within The Great Holmes Tapestry, they don’t make up the whole picture. There are thousands of other stories – fibers of all colors – that fill in the rest of the picture. These narratives, brought to us by the other later literary agents, tell us what else was happening.

The other literary agents may be prolific, finding multiple stories within Watson’s Tin Dispatch Box, while others might only ever encounter one. An example of the latter is famed Sherlockian Vincent Starrett, who brought forth “The Adventure of the Unique Hamlet” in 1920. This is a fully adequate Holmes adventure – although certainly not the best that was ever pulled from The Tin Dispatch Box. Still, many Holmesians who otherwise declare that they hate extra-Canonical adventures will bend their rules for this one, along with a few others that have been brought to the attention of the public by various celebrities. What is notable about this tale so revered in the legendary Sherlockian Halls of Fame is that Mr. Starrett chose to make public an extra-Canonical adventure – and such a well-regarded one to boot! – more than a decade before he produced his acclaimed scholarly work, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1933). In this regard, I admire Starrett’s priorities, and commend them to those who favor the more scholarly side of Holmesian Studies.

There were other famed Sherlockians who experimented with discovering additional Watsonian narratives, but never made them public. In his introduction to The Return of Solar Pons (1958), Sherlockian legend Edgar W. Smith, a legendary member of the Baker Street Irregulars, wrote:

There is no Sherlockian worthy of his salt who has not, at least once in his life, taken Dr. Watson’s pen in hand and given himself to the production of a veritable Adventure. I wrote my own first pastiche at the age of fourteen, about a stolen gem that turned up, by some unaccountable coincidence, in the innards of a fish which Sherlock Holmes was serving to his client in the privacy of his rooms; and I wrote my second when I was fifty-odd, about the definitive and never-more-to-be-seen-in-this-world disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore in a matrix of newly-poured cement.

I would love to read these stories, discovered by this man whose undisputed efforts to promote the admiration of Sherlock Holmes helped to make the world’s first consulting detective one of the most recognized figures on the planet.

As shown above, when referring to pastiche, Smith says “There is no Sherlockian worthy of his salt who has not, at least once in his life, taken Dr. Watson’s pen in hand and given himself to the production of a veritable Adventure.” Strong words from the man who shaped The Baker Street Irregulars - and words that should not be forgotten or swept aside or spoke of, save with a gibe and a sneer, in the pursuit of the scholarly side of things.

In that same paragraph from that same introduction, Smith goes on to write:

The point that does concern me – and it is a point that all of us who are tempted to emulation should bear in mind – is that the writing of a pastiche is compulsive and inevitable: It is, the psychologists would say, a wholesome manifestation of the urge that is in us all to return again to the times and places we have loved and lost; an evidence, specifically, of our happily unrepressed desire to make ourselves at one with the Master of Baker Street and all his works – and to do this not only receptively, but creatively as well.

Note that Smith indicated that this should be done receptively. For if one is truly a Sherlockian worth his [or her] salt, then there should be no resistance against this need to create or read additional adventures of Mr. Sherlock Holmes. It must be true. Legendary Sherlockian Edgar W. Smith said so.

Repeat Visitors to The Tin Disptach Box

As mentioned, there are a number of latter-day literary agents scattered around the world who repeatedly draw from the Watsonian Well, providing a great many – but never enough! – additional Holmes adventures. Often these wonderful Sherlockians find so many Watsonian narratives that there are enough to make whole books of them – their own collections of multiple stories. These will be addressed in a future essay, but it wouldn’t hurt to list and praise these noted individuals here, in no particular order, with a recommendation that their collections be sought and read, and quickly and completely and repeatedly:

• Denis O. Smith
• Jack Grochot
• Mark Mower
• Daniel D. Victor
• Hugh Ashton
• Michael Mallory
• Douglas Moreton
• Philip J. Carraher
• Paul D. Gilbert
• R. Wolfgang Schram
• Ted Riccardi
• Andrew Lane
• Thomas G. Waddell and Thomas R. Rybolt
• Dan Kilkup
• David B. Beckwith
• T.A. Doyen
• Colin Bruce
• J.A. Roberts
• Peter K. Andersson
• Dale Furutani
• Eric Monahan
• David Hammer
• Ian Charnock
• Donald Thomas
• Val Andrews
• Willoughby Lane (Val Andrews)
• Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr
• Sandor Kay Sonnen
• Nick Cardillo
• Dr. Wayne Wall
• Bill Paxon
• David Scott
• Vithal Rahan
• Donald W. Holmes
• David Marcum (That’s me!)
• Michael Kurland
• Lyndsay Faye
• John Heywood
• Ron Weighell
• Craig Janacek
• Denis Green and Anthony Boucher and Leslie Charteris
• Tony Reynolds
• Brian Gibson
• Clive Brooks
• Peter Coe Verbica
• Gary Lovisi
• Ann Margaret Lewis
• Anon.
• Edith Meiser
• Richard Stone
• Martin Edwards
• Gerald Kelly
• Loren D. Estleman
• Joel P. Jorden
• Magda Josza
• Paul W. Nash
• Archie Rushden
• Paul E. Heusinger
• June Thomson
• Frank Thomas
• Liz Hedgecock
• Amy Craddock
• Patrick Campbell
• N.M. Scott
• Roger Jaynes
• Roger Riccard
• Steve Leadley
• Seamas Duffy
• Robert Perret
• Matthew Booth
• David Ruffle
• David James
• Karl Showler
• LFE Coombs
• Miles Elward
• Sam Benady
• Matthew J. Elliott
• Mike Hogan
• Nino Cirone
• Lyn McConchie
• Balaji Narasimhan
• Robert A. Kisch
• Edward D. Hoch
• Roy Templeman
• Dick Gilman
• Pennie Mae Cartwick
• Edmund Hastie
• Gayle Lange Puhl
• Frank J. Morlock
• Daniel McGachey
• Alvin F. Rymsha
• John S. Fitzpatrick
• GC Rosenquist
• Alex Auswaks
• Luke Benjamen Kuhns
• Malcolm Knott
• Eddie Maguire
• Allen J. Heiss
• Rick Boyer
• Tim Symonds
• David McGowan
• Alan Stockwell
• Daniel James Darrouzet
• Herman Anthony Litzinger
• Amanda Knight
• John Taylor
• Jerry Riggs

These are authors of traditional Canonical Sherlockian adventures whose works are in my own collection. There are others still out there that I don't yet have, but I'm working on it. I'm always very happy to add stories about the True Holmes to my collection, to my to-be-read stack, and to my ever-growing Sherlockian Chronology.

A note about this list: There are several other authors who have also discovered a great number of high-quality Sherlockian short adventures that sadly haven’t yet been collected into a book, like the others shown above. These include – but aren't limited to – adventures by:

• Deanna Baran
• Tracy Revels
• Jayantika Ganguly
• Subbu Subramanian
• Shane Simmons
• Steve Herczeg
• Marcia Wilson
• Arthur Hall
• John Hall
• (The late) Barrie Roberts

Hopefully their efforts will be collected in books of their own sooner rather than later . . . .

Shared Universes

Stories are usually initially brought to us through the vision of one person. The Solar Pons adventures, for instance, were presented by Pons’s friend, Dr. Lyndon Parker, by way of his literary agent August Derleth. For many years, Derleth’s literary-agenting was the only path by which Pons’s investigations were made public. Then, in the 1970’s, further Pons stories were revealed by Basil Copper, and more recently, by me in my book The Papers of Solar Pons (2017). In 2018, more of Pons’s cases were brought forth by a number of new literary agents in The New Adventures of Solar Pons:

This latter volume is an example of a Shared Universe, in which multiple contributors provide new stories about a hero or a world that has previously been revealed by only one person. I’ve encountered several examples of this type of book over the years, including an anthology of new Philip Marlowe stories (Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe: A Centennial Celebration, 1988), several books of new tales related to Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series, and even a number of collected novellas by a variety of authors related to the narratives about the Kzin, a formerly little-explored species in Larry Niven’s larger Known Space series.

Another shared universe is Star Trek. Originally conceived by Gene Roddenberry, it had a number of contributors as script-writers within the framework of the original television show. But as with Sherlock Holmes, those “official” stories were not enough, and fans began producing fan fiction, which they sold in homemade booklets at the Star Trek conventions that sprang up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, thus helping to keep Trek alive. Then, in 1968, Whitman Publishing produced the first official Trek novel, Mission to Horatius by Mack Reynolds, fully opening up Trek as a Shared Universe. James Blish’s novelizations of the original episodes for Bantam Books started in 1967, and in 1970 he wrote the full-length Trek novel Spock Must Die! Over the next few years, Bantam produced over a dozen other Trek novels by different authors. Through the efforts of authors participating in this Shared Universe, both amateur and official, interest in Trek was maintained and encouraged to the point that the large-screen film Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in 1979. To coincide with this event, Pocket Books released a novelization by Gene Roddenberry, followed a couple of years later by a highly recommended original novel, Vonda N. McIntyre’s The Entropy Effect (1981). Since then, there have been literally hundreds of new Star Trek novels and comic books in this Shared Universe, written by a plethora of authors – not to mention thirteen feature films (so far) and hundreds of episodes across eight television series (so far, with several others in development).

The combined efforts of everyone who contributed stories to this vast Star Trek enterprise is incredible, and has served to make it the largest and most successful overall story of its type in its genre – but it is nothing compared to the original Shared Universe – that of Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

The World of Sherlock Holmes

The World of Sherlock Holmes has, in a sense, been a Shared Universe from the first published story, A Study in Scarlet (1887), when Dr. John H. Watson, the chronicler of the Holmes’s adventures and author of The Canon, shared editing and marketing duties with the First Literary Agent, Dr. (and later Sir) Arthur Conan Doyle. Not long after the first Holmes adventures were published in the authorized locations – A Study in Scarlet in Beeton’s Christmas Annual, The Sign of the Four in Lippincott’s Magazine (1890), and then The Adventures in The Strand Magazine (beginning in June 1891), other Holmes stories from unofficial literary agents began to appear. Some of these were produced by Conan Doyle himself, as recorded in:

Sherlock Holmes: The Published Apocrypha (1980)
The Final Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1981)
The Uncollected Sherlock Holmes (1983)
The Apocrypha of Sherlock Holmes (2009)

There was a great deal of parody of Holmes and Watson in the early days when The Canon was first being published, but the occasional rare actual traditional case can sometimes be found amongst all that other wasted ink, including some found in:

The Game is Afoot (1994, edited by Marvin Kaye)
A Bedside Book of Early Sherlockian Parodies and Pastiches (2014, edited by Charles Press)
As it Might Have Been (1998, edited by Robert C.S. Adey)
I Believe in Sherlock Holmes (2016, edited by Douglas G. Greene)

Similar items have been collected, with a massive amount of hard work and careful attention, in these excellent volumes of The 223B Casebook Series, edited by Bill Peschel . . . .

Into the Twentieth Century . . . .

The Holmes Shared Universe expanded in 1899 with the publication of William Gillette’s play, Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately – as is often the case – Gillette was allowed to proceed without quite enough supervision, and therefore a few mistakes crept into this dramatized version of one of Holmes’s cases, including references to Professor Robert (instead of James) Moriarty, and a fictionalized ending grafted onto the rest of the play featuring a romantic conclusion. Still, this served as something of a door-opener to proving that Watson’s narratives of Holmes’s adventures did not need to cross the Literary Agent’s desk in order to be intriguing or authentic.

With the advent of radio, and the need for content to feed the starving time-slots that had to be filled, it was brilliantly decided that Holmes’s adventures would be perfect broadcast material. Holmes first appeared on radio in 1930, when the legendary Edith Meiser began presenting adaptations of The Canon. The first episode, “The Speckled Band”, was broadcast on October 20th, 1930, fittingly starring William Gillette, before the part of Holmes was then assumed by Richard Gordon. When these Canonical episodes had been used several times, Meiser – with the permission of the First Literary Agent’s family – began to pull previously unknown extra-Canonical stories from The Tin Dispatch Box, the first being “The Hindoo in the Wicker Basket” (broadcast January 7th, 1932).

There were many other extra-Canonical stories broadcast in the years between 1930 and 1944, when Meiser relinquished the writing duties. All of these have intriguing titles – “The Corpse in the Cab”, “The Syrian Mummy”, “The Sinister Wind Bells”, and “The Case of the Walking Corpse” – and a number of them were converted into daily comic strips with art by Frank Giacola. These have since been published by Eternity Comics and ACG, and also in a few books:

Nearly all of the original broadcasts from this period are now lost, but I dearly hope that someday – even if the actual recordings can never be recovered – the scripts for these can be found and released in the same way that Ian Dickerson has discovered and is publishing scripts from the 1944-1945 season of The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Denis Green and Bruce Taylor (Leslie Charteris), who took over for Meiser. Later, Anthony Boucher took over for Charteris. Several volumes derived from the works of Green and Charteris and Boucher have appeared over the years, including:

The Lost Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1989, transcribed by Ken Greenwald)
The Forgotten Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (2005, transcribed by H. Paul Jeffers)
Sherlock Holmes: The Lost Radio Scripts (2017, edited by Ian Dickerson)
Sherlock Holmes: More Lost Radio Scripts (2018, also edited by Ian Dickerson)

Let the Anthologies Begin!

In 1944, Ellery Queen, already a master detective and skilled autobiographer in his own right, was also gaining a reputation as an excellent mystery editor as well, and he assembled a first-of-its-kind at the time book, The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, a Holmes anthology representative of the much of what had been produced in the Shared Holmes Universe over the previous decades. Here is how the original cover looks . . .

. . . and here is my copy – sadly without a dust jacket, but better than not having it at all . . .

Unfortunately, a great many of the stories in Queen’s The Misadventures were in line with all the other inauthentic parodies that had sprung up, often with Holmes and Watson re-named in what passed for something humorous – Herlock Sholmes and Potson, for instance. (For a comprehensive list of these tedious joke-names, see Ellery Queen’s introduction to The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, his foreword to The Memoirs of Solar Pons [1951] and more recently – and much more completely – Bill Mason’s amazingly comprehensive A Holmes by Any Other Name [2018])

In 2016, editors Julie McKuras, Timothy Johnson, Ray Riethmeier, and Phillip Bergem, members of The Norwegian Explorers of Minnesota, published a companion volumes to Queen’s Misadventures, entitled The Missing Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, locating and collecting all of the stories that Queen had mentioned in the foreword to his book but didn’t have room to originally include. This volumes, produced for The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes Conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from June 17-19, 2016, is an excellent coda to Ellery Queen’s amazing anthology:

After Queen’s Misadventures was published in 1944, it was soon withdrawn, under threat of a lawsuit by the heirs of the First Literary Agent. Still, the crass efforts by Adrian Conan Doyle and his brother Denis Conan Doyle to keep their teeth fastened into the ever-increasingly popular World of Holmes, and their attempts to make money from it by asserting an unobtainable absolute ownership and control, were in vain. Too many people had found the way to access Watson’s Tin Dispatch Box, and more cases were being retrieved all the time. Adrian Conan Doyle himself, along with famed mystery author John Dickson Carr (in a very uneasy and ultimately doomed partnership), decided to join the party, releasing a dozen newly revealed adventures, first in 1952 and 1953 in Life Magazine and Collier's . . .

. . . and then in book form in 1954’s The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes. These are really excellent stories, but sadly they were tainted for several generations of Sherlockians who couldn’t separate the tales themselves from the machinations of the son of the First Literary Agent:

Into the Golden Age

As years passed, the occasional Holmes adventure continued to turn up in the form of novels, short stories, radio and television episodes, movies, comic books, and the occasional fan fiction. However, even after the beginning of the current Sherlockian Golden Age following the publication of Nicholas Meyers’ The Seven-Per-Cent Solution in 1974 – which has only grown ever larger – Sherlockian anthologies were practically non-existent. The next big step forward in terms of the Shared Holmesian Universe, featuring traditional Canonical cases about the true Mr. Sherlock Holmes, appeared in 1985, with The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a collection edited by Richard Lancelyn Green. Unlike Ellery Queen’s Misadventures, this book didn’t have parodies of oddly-named Holmes Simulacrums making up the majority of the material, with only the very rare acceptable traditional Canonical story hidden like a Blue Carbuncle-filled goose amongst all the common wretched birds. Instead, the thirteen cases in this book, all collected reprints stretching back to Starrett’s “The Unique Hamlet”, concerned the real deal, the heroic Sherlock Holmes of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. This book included the famed story by Arthur Whitaker, “The Adventure of the Sheffield Banker”, which had originally be publicized in the 1940’s as the lost 61st Canonical story, before its true provenance was revealed. It contained one of Adrian Conan Doyle’s offerings from The Exploits, and it also had an early appearance of a work presented by Master Pasticheur Denis O. Smith.

In 1987, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the publication of A Study in Scarlet, a special new collection, The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Martin Harry Greenberg and Carol-Lynn Rössel Waugh, was assembled. (Greenberg was involved in many editorial projects, including a number of other Holmes books, which will be mentioned a bit later.) This volume is notable in that it contains the only Holmes story brought to us by Stephen King, “The Doctor’s Tale”, since been filmed by James Douglas. It’s very good, but it does have the irritating and incorrect mistake of giving Holmes a cat allergy in order to facilitate the plot. In 1999 (as shown on the right) a revised and expanded edition was published with three additional stories and the addition of Jon L. Lellenberg as a co-editor:

Ten years after The New Adventures, a monumental work edited by Mike Ashley, The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories (1997) burst on the scene. It contained nearly two-dozen wonderful Holmes adventures, (as well as a few that were sadly unacceptable in that they colored outside the lines, having Holmes and Watson involved in non-Canonical events). Since its initial publication, there have been many editions of this book with varying cover art, but this is my own beloved (and now a bit tattered) copy:

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories

Before discussing the other anthologies that will appear in this essay, this is perhaps a good time to jump ahead and mention The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, since it owes a great deal to The Mammoth Book. In early 2015, I awoke early with the idea of editing a volume of new Holmes stories. Steve Emecz, the greatest Sherlockian Publisher ever, gave the go-ahead, and I began to reach out to authors that knew or admired, thinking that this might be a single trade paperback with a dozen or so stories, at best. Instead, that first idea grew to a three-volume set of 63 new stories, the largest set of its kind in the world at that time. (We’ve since surpassed that.)

When that collection was published, there was a great deal of interest in producing more. While I’d never thought that it would be more than a one-time thing, the heavy lifting was done in terms of set-up and design decisions, and – as there were many authors and readers who wanted to join the party – it was decided to continue producing the series. Since then, there have been 18 massive volumes of the continuing anthology series published – with three more in preparation for May 2020 at this writing. These 21 books include over 450 new traditional Canonical Holmes stories, contributed by nearly 200 Sherlockian authors from around the world. The royalties from the project go to support the Stepping Stones School for special needs students at Undershaw, one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former homes, and to date we’ve raised nearly $60,000 for the school.

When I began editing the first books in the series, I modeled the layout on The Mammoth Book in several ways – The title of the series mimics that of The Mammoth Book. The stories are laid out in the same admirable chronological arrangement. And I chose to use paintings by John Atkinson Grimshaw, one of my all-time favorite artists, on the covers, the same as the original edition of The Mammoth Book.

(For more about Grimshaw's paintings on the covers of Holmes books, see this entry from this blog:

The volumes in The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories (so far) are:

PART I: 1881-1889 – (2015)
PART II: 1890-1895 – (2015)
PART III: 1896-1929 – (2015)
PART IV: 2016 Annual – (2016)
PART V: Christmas Adventures – (2016)
PART VI: 2017 Annual (2017)
PART VII: Eliminate the Impossible: 1880-1891 – (2017)
PART VIII: Eliminate the Impossible: 1892-1905 – (2017)
Part IX: 2018 Annual (1879-1895) – (2018)
Part X: 2018 Annual (1896-1916) – (2018)
Part XI: Some Untold Cases (1880-1891) – (2018)
Part XII: Some Untold Cases (1894-1902) – (2018)
PART XIII: 2019 Annual (1881-1890) – (2019)
PART XIV: 2019 Annual (1891 -1897) – (2019)
PART XV: 2019 Annual (1898-1917) – (2019)
Part XVI: Whatever Remains . . . Must Be the Truth (1881-1890) – (2019)
Part XVII: Whatever Remains . . . Must Be the Truth (1891-1898) – (2019)
Part XVIII: Whatever Remains . . . Must Be the Truth (1899-1925) – (2019)
PART XIX: 2020 Annual (1892-1890)(2020)
• PART XX: 2020 Annual (1891-1897)(2020)
PART XXI: 2020 Annual (1898-1923)(2020)
PART XXII: Some More Untold Cases (In Preparation - Fall 2020)

. . . and no end in sight!

At this point, I'd like to thank every one of the contributors and supporters of these books, and others that I've edited. Without all of you these wouldn't exist, and I can never express my gratitude for being able to be a part of these.

The experience of editing the MX books led me to also edit several collections for Belanger Books, including:

Holmes Away from Home (2016) – Adventures during The Great Hiatus
Sherlock Holmes: Before Baker Street(2017) – Concerning Holmes’s years in Montague Street
Sherlock Holmes: Adventures Beyond the Canon (2018) – Sequels to the Canonical cases
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: The Early Adventures (2019), Relating adventures from 1881-1883

More Sherlockian Anthologies

Before living in this wonderful modern time where there are more Holmes adventures appearing on a regular and nearly daily basis – but never enough! – it was much more difficult to acquire and enjoy them. During the 1990’s, Martin Greenberg, along with a varying cast of other editors including Jon Lellenberg, Carol-Lynn Waugh, and Daniel Stashower, was involved in editing several notable collections, including:

Holmes for the Holidays (1996) – The first Holmes Christmas anthology
More Holmes for the Holidays (1999) – The second Holmes Christmas anthology
Murder in Baker Street (2001) – General Canonical cases
Murder, My Dear Watson (2002) – More general Canonical cases
Ghosts in Baker Street (2006) – Seemingly supernatural encounters
Sherlock Holmes in America (2009) – Some of Holmes’s adventures in the United States

At the same time, editor Marvin Kaye kept the Holmes-fires burning with a couple of themed collections:

Resurrected Holmes (1996) – In which Watson’s notes were edited by other notable literary agents, such as Hemingway
The Confidential Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (1998) – Containing stories suppressed to prevents scandals

Michael Kurland also edited three themed volumes:

My Sherlock Holmes: Untold Stories of the Great Detective (2003) – Related by other narrators besides Watson
Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years (2004) – About The Great Hiatus
Sherlock Holmes: The American Years (2010) - Which relates, as did Sherlock Holmes in America, stories set in the United States

More recently, Titan Books – which has shown a discouraging trend toward publishing fictional and distracting stories about Our Heroes where they have decidedly incorrect encounters with giant steampunk shapeshifting Transformers, or real monsters, or Lovecraftian nightmares – has still occasionally continued to produce acceptable anthologies of stories about the True Sherlock Holmes – although some indications are that in general they are drifting ever further in the wrong direction, and that these true Holmes stories are being phased out. Four of these correct volumes about the Canonical Holmes were edited by George Mann, with a more recent collection edited by Martin Rosenstock:

Encounters of Sherlock Holmes (2013)
Further Encounters of Sherlock Holmes (2014)
Associates of Sherlock Holmes (2016)
Further Associates of Sherlock Holmes (2017)
The Sign of Seven (2019)

Other volumes featuring a number of traditional Canonical Holmes tales include:

Sherlock Holmes and The Three Poisoned Pawns (2008) with three great novellas.
Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook (2017), edited by Christopher Sequiera. While not the first stories to tell about either Holmes or Watson in Australia, this wonderful and handsome volume gives the most compressive account.
Curious Incidents Volume I(2002) and Volume II (2003), edited by Charles Prepolec and J.R. Campbell. These were great finds when they first appeared, and I would urge – nay, beg – the editors to make more of them!
Tales From the Stranger’s Room Volume I (2012), Volume II (2012), and Volume III (2017), all edited by David Ruffle, and with the royalties going to support the Stepping Stones School at Undershaw.
Where’s Holmes? (2017, edited by T.C. Phillips) – Stories where Holmes is conspicuously absent.
The Great Detective: His Further Adventures (2012), edited by Gary Lovisi. (Sadly, while this book contains some good stories, it also holds my personal single-most-hated Sherlockian short story that purports to be about the true Holmes, in which Holmes shrugs and lets a Ripper-like killer go simply because he’s rich and one can’t stand up against that kind of power – better just let him keep killing. It should never have been included.)

A number of handy volumes have included reprints, in the tradition of the previously mentioned The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, as edited by Richard Lancelyn Green. These reprint collections include:

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories (2015, edited by Otto Penzler)
The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (2009, edited by John Joseph Adams)
The Game is Afoot (1994, edited by Marvin Kaye, as previously mentioned)
Sherlock Holmes: The Game’s Afoot (2008, edited by David Stuart Davies)

In 2009, Ron Fortier at Airship 27 Productions began producing Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective – wonderful collections, appearing approximately yearly by some of today’s best raiders of The Tin Dispatch Box. There are now 14 of them as of this writing:

In addition to the previously-mentioned Belanger Books volumes that I edited, there have been several others from this publisher, including:

Beyond Watson (2016, edited by Derrick Belanger) – Like Michael Kurland’s My Sherlock Holmes, this tells about Holmes’s adventures from a non-Watsonian viewpoint
The Irregular Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (2019, edited by Derrick and Brian Belanger) – Traditional Holmes adventures by both adult and children Sherlockian authors, with net proceeds going to support The Beacon Society
Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of Edgar Allan Poe (2019, edited by Brian and Derrick Belanger)- As indicated, the stories involve Holmes in various aspects of Poe and his works.

Belanger Books continues to produce various themed Sherlockian anthologies, such as:

Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realm of H.G. Wells (2017, edited by Derrick Belanger and C. Edward Davis)
Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realm of Steampunk (2019, edited by Derrick Belanger)

Also coming in 2020 from Belanger Books is volume in which Holmes encounters various “Occult Detectives” such as Carnacki, to be edited by John Linwood Grant, and to be published in mid-2020. Additionally, another planned Belanger Books volume for 2020 involves Holmes meeting other Great Detectives. (My story about Holmes and Dr. Thorndyke will be included.)

There have been a couple of other previous volumes of cross-over stories between Holmes and the Great Detectives, as well as other notable figures:

• Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook (2011, edited by Howard Hopkins)
• The Further Crossovers of Sherlock Holmes (2017, edited by Richard Dean Starr and E.R. Bower).

Besides these anthologies, there are a plethora of others out there, including these large volumes:

The Mammoth Book of Sherlock Holmes Abroad (2015, edited by Simon Clark)
The Adventures of Moriarty (2015, edited by Martin Jakubowski)
Sherlock Holmes’s School for Detection (2017, edited by Simon Clark)

Loren Estleman, known for his Amos Walker novels and a couple of off-trail supernatural-themed Holmes novels, has edited three collections, each containing some traditional Canonical stories mixed in with a few others that aren’t so much:

The Perils of Sherlock Holmes (2012)
Sons of Moriarty and More Stories of Sherlock Holmes (2013)
The Plated Spoon and Other Tales of Sherlock Holmes (2014)

One unique shared universe within the larger Shared Holmes Universe is that of Jim French’s The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a part of his overall Imagination Theatre. Mr. French, a noted radio dramatist, began penning Sherlock Holmes radio episodes in 1998. After a few years, he started sharing the script-writing duties with other authors (including yours truly). Eventually, a number of other people would either co-write a number of scripts with Mr. French, or write them independently. Mr. French passed away in 2018, but The Further Adventures continues, and 136 episodes of the series have been produced so far – and more are coming. In 2017, a volume of scripts, with at least one included by every Sherlockian author who ever wrote an episode of The Further Adventures, was published as Imagination Theatre’s Sherlock Holmes. And related to that publication of the three-volume The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Jim French Imagination Theatre Scripts (2019) collected all of Mr. French’s Sherlockian efforts – over fifty scripts – for posterity. I was proud to edit all of these books, the proceeds of which go to support the Stepping Stones School at Undershaw.

In addition to all of these volumes that color within the Holmesian lines, there have been a number of anthologies relating tales where Holmes encounters real monsters or supernatural elements. As I play The Game with deadly seriousness, I don’t agree with this approach, but within the following supernatural-themed volumes, a few stories can sometimes be winkled out that are traditional, Canonical, and not actually supernatural:

Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Space (1984, edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Charles Waugh)
Sherlock Holmes in Orbit (1995, Edited by Mike Resnick and Martin H. Greenberg)
Shadows Over Baker Street (2003, edited by Michael Reeves and John Pelan)
An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (2015, edited by A.C. Thompson)
Gaslight Grimoire (2008, edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec)
Gaslight Grotesque (2009, edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec)
Gaslight Arcanum (2011, edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec)
Gaslight Gothic (2018, edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec)

With these books, and their overt supernatural themes, we have spiraled out quite a distance from the Canonical Center, now reaching books that have Holmes’s name on them, but with stories inside have very little to do with Our Hero. An example of these are the four volumes edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger which, as advertised, are “Stories Inspired by the Sherlock Holmes Canon”. Thus, don’t expect to find traditional Canonical Holmes here. I own these books. I’ve flipped through them. I don’t expect to ever read them. They include:

A Study in Sherlock (2011)
In the Company of Sherlock Holmes (2014)
Echoes of Sherlock Holmes (2016)
For the Sake of the Game (2018)

And this far out into the Shared Universe, perhaps I can close the loop with a reference to Holmes and Star Trek, that other massive shared experience that I mentioned near the beginning of this essay. While not an anthology by multiple latter-day literary agents, it might be fitting to mention The Federation Holmes (2001) by Dana Martin Batory. With stories originally published between 1978 and 1991 in a small fan magazine, The Holmesian Federation, Holmes and Watson are uniquely “revived” by Mr. Spock in the era of Captain Kirk, going on to bring their unique abilities to the mysteries of the Federation. While I’m a staunch traditionalist, I’ve also been a Star Trek fan since I was a very child in the 1960’s, when the original show was still airing, and this inclusion of Holmes and Watson into the Star Trek shared universe in this manner is perfectly plausible – and a case where I’m very willing to bend my Canonical-only rule. Here are my copies of the collected hardcover version of The Federal Holmes and the previously mentioned first Star Trek novel from 1968, Mission to Horatius:

In conclusion . . . .

It’s my position, as a missionary for The Church of Holmes, that there can never be enough new narratives about the true and Canonical Sherlock Holmes. I’m doing my best to help encourage this. The books listed above are just a fraction of what’s out there, and only the tiniest pieces of The Great Holmes Tapestry – yet they all serve to fill in the details of the amazing overall picture. So don’t forget:

In the beginning was The Canon, and it was good. But it was not enough.”

©David Marcum 2020 – All Rights Reserved


David Marcum plays The Game with deadly seriousness. He first discovered Sherlock Holmes in 1975 at the age of ten, and since that time, he has collected, read, and chronologicized literally thousands of traditional Holmes pastiches in the form of novels, short stories, radio and television episodes, movies and scripts, comics, fan-fiction, and unpublished manuscripts. He is the author of over sixty Sherlockian pastiches, some published in anthologies and magazines such as The Strand, and others collected in his own books, The Papers of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes and A Quantity of Debt, and Sherlock Holmes – Tangled Skeins. He has edited over fifty books, including several dozen traditional Sherlockian anthologies, such as the ongoing series The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, which he created in 2015. This collection is now up to 21 volumes, with several more in preparation. He was responsible for bringing back August Derleth’s Solar Pons for a new generation, first with his collection of authorized Pons stories, The Papers of Solar Pons, and then by editing the reissued authorized versions of the original Pons books. He is now doing the same for the adventures of Dr. Thorndyke. He has contributed numerous essays to various publications, and is a member of a number of Sherlockian groups and Scions. He is a licensed Civil Engineer, living in Tennessee with his wife and son. His irregular Sherlockian blog, A Seventeen Step Program, addresses various topics related to his favorite book friends (as his son used to call them when he was small), and can be found at Since the age of nineteen, he has worn a deerstalker as his regular-and-only hat. In 2013, he and his deerstalker were finally able make his first trip-of-a-lifetime Holmes Pilgrimage to England, with return Pilgrimages in 2015 and 2016, where you may have spotted him. If you ever run into him and his deerstalker out and about, feel free to say hello!

His Amazon Author Page can be found at:

and at MX Publishing:

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