Christmas in Victorian England - the carolers, the feasts, the yuletide spirit, the mysteries to be solved, the murderers to be apprehended. Yes, indeed, I did say “mysteries” and “murderers,” but even at this time of year, who can resist the Britannic charm of Sherlock Holmes, one of the world’s favorite fictional detectives?
In “Holmes for the Holidays,” fourteen authors, including Anne Perry and Carole Nelson Douglas, provide stories of mirth and mayhem set amid the splendor of the season. Have you ever wondered what the great detective himself would have said about all those supernatural goings-on in “The Christmas Carol?” Thanks to Tiny Tim - now Lord Chislehusrt - in “The Adventure of the Three Ghosts” and Scrooge’s great nephew in “The Adventure of the Christmas Ghosts” we have other views of what might have happened on that famous Christmas Eve night.
In “A Scandal in Winter” we also have a different view of Sherlock Holmes and his esteemed sidekick/biographer Dr. Watson. Nicknamed ‘Silver Stick’ and ‘Square Bear’ by the young girl telling the story, Holmes and Watson must tackle a year old mystery involving Irene Adler and the murder of her latest husband. While many readers might prefer a closer adherence to the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, this little gem was probably my favorite. My second favorite might well be “A Yuletide Affair,” in which Holmes barely makes an appearance and Dr. Watson must solve a medical mystery by himself or watch Lestrade perish.
With anarchists, attempted murders, disappearing and reappearing Christmas trees, and no end of brilliant deductions, this carefully selected collection of short stories has something for every fan of a time, place, main character – and, in this case, a season – that will always have a place in our collective imaginations.