BESTSELLING AUTHORS GO HOLMES--IN AN IRRESISTIBLE NEW COLLECTION edited by award-winning Sherlockians Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
Neil Gaiman. Laura Lippman. Lee Child. These are just three of eighteen superstar authors who provide fascinating, thrilling, and utterly original perspectives on Sherlock Holmes in this one-of-a-kind book. These modern masters place the sleuth in suspenseful new situations, create characters who solve Holmesian mysteries, contemplate Holmes in his later years, fill gaps in the Sherlock Holmes Canon, and reveal their own personal obsessions with the Great Detective.
Thomas Perry, for example, has Dr. Watson tell his tale, in a virtuoso work of alternate history that finds President McKinley approaching the sleuth with a disturbing request; Lee Child sends an FBI agent to investigate a crime near today's Baker Street--only to get a twenty-first-century shock; Jacqueline Winspear spins a story of a plucky boy inspired by the detective to make his own deductions; and graphic artist Colin Cotterill portrays his struggle to complete this assignment in his hilarious "The Mysterious Case of the Unwritten Short Story."*
In perfect tribute comes this delicious collection of twisty, clever, and enthralling studies of a timeless icon.
Featuring stories from
Gayle Lynds & John Sheldon
Phillip & Jerry Margolin
S. J. Rozan
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October 25, 2011
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Excerpt from A Study in Sherlock by Laurie R. King
YOU'D BETTER GO IN DISGUISE
How long had he been watching me? I wondered.
I had been standing for perhaps a quarter of an hour, gazing idly at the little boys in sailor suits and their sisters in pinafores, all of whom, watched over by a small army of nannies and a handful of mothers, waded like diminutive giants among their toy sailing boats in the Serpentine.
A sudden breeze had sprung up, scattering the fallen leaves and bringing the slightest of chills to an otherwise idyllic autumn afternoon. I shivered and turned up my collar, the hairs at the back of my neck bristling against my jacket.
To be precise, the pressure of my collar put a stop to the bristling which, since I had not noticed it until that moment, made the feeling all that much more peculiar.
Perhaps it was because I had, the previous week, attended Professor Malabar's demonstration at the Palladium. His uncanny experiments in the world of the unseen were sufficient to give pause to even the greatest of sceptics, among whom, most assuredly, I do not count myself.
I must admit at the outset to an unshakeable belief in the theory that there is a force which emanates from the eye of a watcher that is detectable by some as-yet-undiscovered sensor at the back of the neck of the person being watched; a phenomenon which, I am furthermore convinced, is caused by a specialized realm of magnetism whose principles are not yet fully understood by science.
In short, I knew that I was being stared at, a fact which, in itself, is not necessarily without pleasure. What, for example, if one of those nattily uniformed nannies had her eye upon me? Even though I was presently more conservative than I once had been, I was keenly aware that I still cut rather a remarkable figure. At least, when I chose to.
I turned slowly, taking care to pitch my gaze above the heads of the governesses, but by the time I had turned through a casual half circle they were every one engaged again in gossip or absorbed in the pages of a book.
I studied them intently, paying close attention to all but one, who sat primly on a park bench, her head bowed, as if in silent prayer.
It was then that I spotted him: just beyond the swans; just beyond a tin toy Unterseeboot.
He was sitting quietly on a bench, his hands folded in his lap, his polished boots forming a carpenter's square upon the gravelled path. A solicitor's clerk, I should have thought, although his ascetic gauntness did not without contradiction suggest one who laboured in the law.
Even though he wanted not to be seen (a fact which, as a master of that art myself, I recognized at once), his eye, paradoxically all- seeing, was the eye of an eagle: hard, cold, and objective.
To my horror, I realized that my legs were propelling me inexorably towards the stranger and his bench, as if he had summoned me by means of some occult wireless device.
I found myself standing before him.
"A fine day," he said, in a voice which might have been at home on the Shakespearean stage, and yet which, for all its resonance, struck a false note.
"One smells the city after the rain," he went on, "for better or for worse."
I smiled politely, my instincts pleading with me not to strike up a conversation with an over-chatty stranger.
He shifted himself sideways on the bench, touching the wooden seat with long fingers.
"Please sit," he said, and I obeyed.
I pulled out a cigarette case, selected one, and patted my pockets for a match. As if by magic a Lucifer appeared at his fingertips, and, solicitously, he lit me up.
I offered him the open case, but he brushed it away with
a swift gesture of polite refusal. My exhaled smoke hung heavily in the autumn air.
"I perceive you are attempting to give up the noxious weed."
I must have looked taken aback.
"The smell of bergamot," he said, "is a dead giveaway. Oswego tea, they call it in America, where they drink an infusion of the stuff for no other reason than pleasure. Have you been to America?"
"Not in some time," I said.
"Ah." He nodded. "Just as I thought."
"You seem to be a very observant person," I ventured.