In Holmes for the Holidays, today's best mystery writers featured Arthur Conan Doyle's inimitable Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in an original anthology of holiday whodunits. Berkley Prime Crime is proud to present More Holmes for the Holidays-in which the beloved duo returns. . .to the scene of the crime. Anne Perry * Loren D. Estleman * Carolyn Wheat * Peter Lovesey * Bill Crider * Daniel Stashower * Edward Hoch * Tanith Lee * Jon Breen * L.B. Greenwood * Barbara Paul
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December 14, 2003
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Excerpt from More Holmes for the Holidays by Martin H. Greenberg
"The Christmas Gift" by Anne Perry
"The Four Wise Men" copyright by Peter Lovesey
"Eleemosynary, My Dear Watson" by Barbara Paul
"The Adventure of the Greatest Gift" by Loren D. Estleman
"The Case of the Rajah's Emerald" by Carolyn Wheat
"The Christmas Conspiracy" by Edward D. Hoch
"The Music of Christmas" by L. B. Greenwood
"The Adventure of the Christmas Bear" by Bill Crider
"The Adventure of the Naturalist's Stock Pin" by Jon L. Breen
"The Adventure of the Second Violet" by Daniel Stashower
"The Human Mystery" by Tanith Lee
Somewhere in the vaults of the bank of Cox and Co., at Charing Cross, there is a travel-worn and battered tin dispatch-box with my name, John H. Watson, M.D., Late Indian Army, painted upon the lid . . .
wrote Dr. Watson in "The Adventure of Thor Bridge," published in 1922.
It is crammed with papers, nearly all of which are records of cases to illustrate the curious problems which Mr. Sherlock Holmes had at various times to examine. Some, and not the least interesting, were complete failures, and as such will hardly bear narrating, since no final explanation is forthcoming. . . . Apart from these unfathomed cases, there are some which involve the secrets of private families to an extent which would mean consternation in many exalted quarters if it were thought possible that they might find their way into print. I need not say that such a breach of confidence is unthinkable, and that these records will be separated and destroyed now that my friend has time to turn his energies to the matter. There remain a considerable residue of cases of greater or less interest which I might have edited before had I not feared to give the public a surfeit which might react upon the reputation of the man whom above all others I revere.
This statement by Sherlock Holmes's collaborator and amanuensis has intrigued readers of his adventures for over seventy-five years, and not merely for Watson's tantalizing description of several of the cases that Holmes failed to solve--"that of Mr. James Phillimore," for instance, "who, stepping back into his own house to get his umbrella, was never more seen in this world," or of "Isadora Persano, the well-known journalist and duellist, who was found stark staring mad with a matchbox in front of him which contained a remarkable worm, said to be unknown to science." Many other writers, professionals and amateurs alike, have endeavored to make up for the continued withholding of Dr. Watson's marvelous, and seemingly bottomless, dispatch-box, and to give the public their own versions of these and other Unrelated Cases of Sherlock Holmes.
The stories in this volume are ones in that dispatch-box wrapped in leftover Christmas present wrapping paper, and tied up with green and red ribbon. They relate little problems in detection that came to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson at Christmastime during the years they dwelt at 221B Baker Street, London. For Victorian Englishmen like Holmes and Watson, the holiday of Christmas celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ nearly two thousand winters before with lights, greenery, gifts that recalled the Magi who traveled to Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Saviour, and a spirit of brotherhood and spiritual renewal. It was, as Sherlock Holmes remarked in "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle," the Season of Forgiveness, and in that tale by A. Conan Doyle, Holmes let a guilty man go free so long as an innocent one did not suffer -- a Christmas gesture worthy of the great detective, who never confused Justice with Law whenever a difference between those two things occurred in the many cases he investigated.