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Trading Coasts: Sherlock Holmes in America

June 4, 2009

Though it had previously slipped under my radar, a new anthology edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, and Daniel Stashower recently caught my attention and I want to recommend it here. Sherlock Holmes in America builds off of Arthur Conan Doyle‘s own interest in the people andhistory of the U.S. (don’t forget that much of the first book, A Study in Scarlet, took place in Utah!) and invites several of today’s writers to pen new adventures, taking the famous detective away from his usual haunts and plopping him down somewhere in the New World. Notable contributors include Jon L. Breen, Loren D. Estleman, Steve Hockensmith, Matthew Pearl and Carolyn Wheat, among many others, and Bill Crider‘s excellent “The Adventure of the White City” provides a glimpse at how these writers are melding their own subject matters and styles with Conan Doyle’s characters and approaches. Adapting the narrative voice of Watson, Crider draws a connection between Sherlock Holmes and the American serial killer Herman Webster Mudgett, who went under the name H.H. Holmes and haunted Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, known as the Columbian Exposition. No, our Holmes doesn’t solve that crime, but the adventure does place him at the Exposition itself and sets him the task of stopping a crime related to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and Sitting Bull’s cabin — drawing into the tale many of Crider’s own interests in the history of the American West. All in all, a collection worth perusing.

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