Volume XIX - "Marcum continues to burnish his reputation as a superior selector of quality new Holmes stories."
Volume XX - "Marcum’s reserve of high-quality new Holmes exploits seems endless."
Two more starred reviews from Publishers weekly including shout outs for Chris Chan, William Patrick Murray, Matthew White, Gayle Lange Puhl, Charles Veley and Anna Elliott.
A haunting reminiscent of the legend of Sleepy Hollow and a rash of robberies committed by someone wearing a black duffel coat highlight Marcum’s impressive 20th Sherlock Holmes anthology. Gayle Lange Puhl’s “The Blood-Spattered Bridge” sends Holmes and Watson to Kent to look into the apparent return of a mythical ghost, heralded by “the sound of hooves and the cry of a horse late on moonless nights.” The specter is supposedly that of a murderous 13th-century soldier, and there’s some grim tangible evidence—bloodstains, whose appearance coincides with a town official’s disappearance. In “The Adventure of Old Black Duffel,” Will Murray pits Holmes against a brazen and miraculously elusive thief. Another standout is Charles Veley and Anna Elliott’s “The Murders in the Maharajah’s Railway Carriage,” in which Inspector Lestrade comes under suspicion after a jewel theft and murder. Other authors offer intriguing takes on some of Watson’s tantalizing references in the canon to untold tales, including a baffling vanishing of a man who went missing after going to retrieve his umbrella and a gory death linked to a bizarre worm. Marcum’s reserve of high-quality new Holmes exploits seems endless.
Inventive plots and intriguing explorations of aspects of Dr. Watson’s life and beliefs lift the 24 pastiches in Marcum’s impressive 19th Sherlock Holmes anthology. In Chris Chan’s “The Man in the Maroon Suit,” someone vandalizes an artist’s paintings on display in a gallery by adding a small image of a man in a maroon suit to each canvas. Holmes comes up with a brilliant solution to the bizarre crime. Another highlight is Will Murray’s “The Indigo Impossibility,” in which Holmes and Watson consider whether a dinosaur might be responsible for a man’s death after reports surface of a creature in the area that has a deep indigo color and “walks upon two legs, leaving foot tracks like great horned talons.” Matthew White demonstrates how a gripping and moving mystery not centered on violence can be crafted in “A Case of Paternity.” Other tales examine Watson’s relationship to religion, his opinion of the British Empire, and his experiences during the Afghan War. Marcum continues to burnish his reputation as a superior selector of quality new Holmes stories.