This long-awaited volume finally brings to light several cases of the world's most famous consulting detective that were originally suppressed to avoid scandal and embarrassment to the Crown, public figures, or to Holmes himself. Now, the truth is finally revealed regarding Holmes's exploits involving the Titanic, his rematch with Irene Adler, the childhoods of both Holmes and Watson, and such figures as Ida Tarbell, P.G. Wodehouse, and James McNeil Whistler. The Confidential Casebook of Sherlock Holmes is a cornucopia of Sherlockiana that will delight fans young and no-so-young.
Of uniformly high quality, these new cases of Sherlock Holmes are further enhanced by the diverse backgrounds of the contributors. From writers of mystery (Ed Hoch, H. Paul Jeffers) to editors (Patrick LoBrutto) to teachers (P.C. Hodgell, Pat Mullen), the majority of them have been collected by Kaye before in Sherlockian anthologies (The Game is Afoot; The Resurrected Holmes). Eleven of the 15 authors have backgrounds in speculative fiction, and they make good use of delectable flavorings of mood and atmosphere to spice up a tired formula. In "The Adventure of the Boulevard Assassin," an intense and energetic story by Ida Tarbell biographer Kathleen Brady, Holmes, Watson and Tarbell act to prevent anarchist bombings in Paris. The clever "Adventure of the Noble Husband" by Peter Cannon, who once teamed Holmes with H.P. Lovecraft, brings Holmes face to face with Arthur Conan Doyle in a very satisfying exploration of the complicated relationship Doyle had with his future second wife, Jean Leckie. For complexity of ideas, gut-wrenching imagery and powerful emotional impact, Jay Sheckley's "The Case of Vittoria, the Circus Belle" is the best of an excellent collection.