MICHAEL KURLAND, Editor – Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years. St. Martin’s, hardcover, November 2004; softcover, January 2006.

MICHAEL KURLAND Holmes Missing Years

    A solid collection of 12 pastiches recounting some of the adventures Holmes had during the “missing years” when he was thought to have died with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls. All are original to this volume except for “The God of the Naked Unicorn,” by Richard Lupoff, written in 1976.

    Highlights are “The Beast of the Guangming Peak,” by Michael Mallory, which has an elderly Colonel in a retired soldiers’ home recalling events 50 years ago in the Himalayas on which he met an explorer named Sigerson (Holmes’s alias) and needy met the abominable snowman.

    “The Case of the Lugubrious Servant,” by Rhys Bowen, has Holmes suffering from amnesia after his encounter with Moriarty and thought to be a half-wit. He’s working as a handyman at a Swiss inn where he meets Sigmund Freud and recovers his memory in time to solve a murder.

    “The Bughouse Caper” features Holmes in San Francisco where Pronzini’s cowboy/PI Jack Quincannon gets jealous of him while working on a burglary and murder case. Michael Kurland’s own “Reichenbach” has both Holmes and Moriarty faking their deaths to go undercover for the British government at the behest of brother Mycroft.

    In “The Adventure of the Missing Detective,” by Gary Lovisi, Holmes crosses into a parallel universe where he died and Moriarty survived to become the power behind King Albert Christian Edward Victor of England (Victoria’s grandson thought by some to be Jack the Ripper) who is turning Britain into a dictatorship.

    And “Cross of Gold” by Michael Collins tells the story of an elderly stepgrandmother telling how the grandfather, a newly arrived immigrant to America, was accused of murdering a wealthy man because of his left-wing sympathies and was cleared by Sherlock Holmes in New York City. The grandson is Dan Fortune.

    These and the other stories here make worthwhile reading and healthy additions to the mountain of Holmes stories written about him since Conan Doyle went to that undiscovered country.