08 May 2013

Celebrating the Short Story: Anthologies

Up until now, I have largely been discussing short stories of the stand alone variety, some large enough to be termed novellas, others just small morsels designed to keep the reader hooked while waiting for the author's next big effort to be published.  There is, however, a whole section of books containing short stories.  These books are most often referred to as anthologies.  There are two major types of short story anthologies that I have come across in my reading.  The first is the collection of stories, all by the same author.  Some current examples of this type of work is Side Jobs, in which author Jim Butcher has collected all of the Dresden File stories that he has been publishing on his website between the release of the major Dresden File books.  This book is an excellent read and just the thing for any Dresden Files collector like me.
The other type of anthology is comprised of a collection of stories by different authors, but all related either by genre or subject.  My most recent foray into this type of anthology is comprised of books like First Thrills an anthology of mystery/thriller stories compiled by Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series, Women of Mystery, a collection of stories by some of the most popular female mystery writers of today, and A Study in Sherlock, and collection of stories that are inspired by the Holmes canon.  Here is my current review of this book:

Publisher: Random House
Price: $36.00 for the Hardback, $11.99 for the eBook
Genre: Mystery  and short story anthology
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What more could a true Sherlock fan want than a book full of "Sherlock" stories by some of the best writers on the current scene. A Study in Sherlock: Stories inspired by the Holmes canon is just such a book. It is edited by Laurie R. King of the Mary Russell series fame. Ms. King seems the perfect person to such a book, since she is the author of the Mary Russell books, a series that features Sherlock Holmes as one of the main characters. What she has put together in this book is a number of stories, mostly written in the same style that Arthur Conan Doyle used when writing the original Sherlock Holmes serial. One thing that really drew me to this book was the writers that Ms. King was able to get to join in the effort. I was excited to see stories by such authors as Lee ChildNeil GaimanS.J. Rozan,Laura Lippman, and Jacqueline Winspear. I do have to say, some of the stories were better than others, and some of them followed the Holmes canon much more closely than others, but all of them were enjoyable. Even the ones that did not really follow Doyle's writing style were quite good and worth the read. For example, The Mysterious Case of the Unwritten Short Story. 

If you are a Holmes purist, this book would probably not be up to your standards, as several of the stories veer from the canon completely. If, like me, though, you just get a kick out of the way 
 that Sherlock solves mysteries I would say to give this one a chance.