I took three books with me on my trip to Omaha last month. I read two and gave up on one before I came back to AZ. Determined to continue with Holmes-a-thon, I turned to my mom’s bookshelves. They are populated with three broad categories of books: my mom’s science fiction collection, random works of mid-90s vampire fiction (…she and I went through a phase…), and books I acquired in college and were left at my parent’s house after summer vacations. I’m not talking textbooks, I’m referring to the large amount of (mostly) fiction I bought or picked up from free bins at Lincoln bookstores. So many books that I generally culled the collection each summer, leaving the remainders with Mom. (I have since engaged in the reverse process: bringing books back to Arizona a few at a time after Omaha visits.) There on a shelf, beyond Scooby the Cockatiel’s cage, was The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Most likely, since there is no price in the front cover, I bought it at Page One for $4.50 (half of the cover price). After reading most of it, the better deal would have been a free bin.
The anthology had a few okay stories ("The Final Toast" by Stuart Kaminsky stands out), but most were very exposition heavy (something Doyle really isn’t) or are very concerned with social commentary (something I don’t remember Doyle’s stories being). The characters go on at great length about new technologies, such as the Gatlin gun or women’s suffrage. I didn’t finish a few stories because they bored me or quickly entered the realm of the ridiculous. I reread Doyle’s "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" as well, and again, I’m struck with how few descriptions there are. To some extent, I think the modern reader takes the Sherlock Holmes stories as a whole and weaves them together, borrowing details from one to augment all the others. The pastiche author might be left feeling that the entire rug needs to be rewove to accommodate their story.
After a month of Sherlock Holmes fiction, I am Holmes saturated. I need a break. From the fiction at least. I am postponing (or maybe replacing) the second anthology of Holmes short fiction on my list with the Doyle biography I bought in Madison.