Orbit books have been reprinting several "classic" Sherlock Holmes mashups/continuations under the aegis of The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
, and I've been reading them in e-format from the library. They got in 7, all of which I've put holds on, there are apparently slated to be at least 11 in the series and so far I've finished 3:
Sťance for a Vampire
by Fred Saberhagen
is apparently some sort of sequel to earlier Holmes+Dracula books that he's written.
This one involves Russian aristocracy, Victorian spiritualist fakery, and a hidden treasure/revenge plot. It's got the usual sort of name-brand period guest stars you'd expect for something with those theme elements, but actually that part was rather superfluous and said personage might as well not have been involved at all, for all that they contributed to the actual plot. Not bad, but not that great, either.
Also suffered from weird text errors: no actual typos, but missing punctuation and a bizarre "decapitation" of many words that should have been uppercased-B, i.e. "221B baker Street", as well as Bs that start sentences. Possibly someone's search-and-replace was overzealous, though that doesn't explain why it happens only half the time.
I should note that the actual formatting for this series is pretty nice. They've made an effort with little graphics under the chapter headings, put the back cover with the blurb at the end, multi-level TOC entered correctly, drop caps to start the chapters, included sample chapter excerpts from other books in the series after the main story, etc.
War of the Worlds
, by sf author Manly Wade Wellman
and his father, not-so-Manly Wade Wellman
A three-way mashup between Wells, Conan Doyle, and Conan Doyle again, as Professor Challenger also gets involved in thwarting the Martian invasion. There's an interesting foreword by both the authors about the influences on this novel, which grew out of a couple of short stories and was inspired by a film.
Entertaining enough, though some of it seemed out of character: viz. Sherlock Holmes being involved in a romantic relationship and acting kind of Watson-ish about the woman in question. It seemed rather unnatural and I kept waiting for there to be a reveal that this A Clue that the aliens were influencing him.
On the funnier side, it's especially amusing the way Watson repeatedly disses Wells as a hack writer who gets things wrong (this is one of those "Conan Doyle was passing on non-fiction and we just found Ye Olde Hidden Manuscript" literary agent hypothesis tales).
No significant formatting errors or typos, just a couple of wrong-way-round curly quotes.
The Ectoplasmic Man
by Daniel Stashower
: Harry Houdini is accused of a crime only the world's greatest escape artist could have performed.
Best of the lot. This was a clever and entertaining tale making good use of Victorian-era tech/knowledge re: security, escape artistry, and transportation, had quite a few lovingly footnoted references to other Holmes cases and Houdini incidents, and the problem and solution were both pretty good and the characters seemed pretty in-character, though frankly, the most intriguing part of the story was this throwaway reference in the beginning:
In all my years with Sherlock Holmes I encountered only a handful of men whose wilfulness and ingenuity rivalled that of Holmes himself. One such man was William Gladstone, the late prime minister. Another was a gentleman in Cornwall who fashioned small weapons from dried fruit.
Not gonna lie, I would cheerfully read The Adventure of the Cornish Dried Fruit Weaponiser
Recommended, though the e-book edition again suffered from a strangely fitting formatting error: occasionally passages disappeared from the narrative and were transposed elsewhere into the text. But all of it did seem to be there and nothing really missing: just escaped elsewhere.
Orbit, incidentally, charges roughly $8 for these e-books.
Now currently on David Stuart Davies
' The Veiled Detective
, which purports to set up and involve the characters of Watson, Moriarty, and Holmes before they became Watson, Moriarty, and Holmes.
Mildly boring so far, since a big chunk of this seems to be premised on "everything you thought you knew is wrong" and I don't read Holmes stories for bumbling incompetence, except in parody versions. I may skip this and go straight to the Teddy Roosevelt/Holmes team-up.