Title: The Sign Of Seven
Author: various (edited by Martin Rosenstock)
Publisher: Titan Books
A stunning collection of seven brand-new novellas featuring the redoubtable Sherlock Holmes and his chronicler Dr John Watson.
A collection of seven brand-new novellas written by masters of the Sherlock Holmes pastiche, including Andrew Lane, author of the Young Sherlock series, New York Times bestseller James Lovegrove, and Edgar Award nominee Lyndsay Faye.
I always enjoy a mystery story, whether it be modern or classic stories featuring maverick detectives like Sherlock Holmes, so I was excited to read this new collection of seven short stories featuring Holmes and Watson. The stories are each quite different, covering different conundrums and locations. Although many stories stay in and around London, we also travel as far as America in one tale called The Adventure of the Koreshan Unity.
There are some serious topics addressed in these stories, and many feel very relevant today – some were presented with humour to help reinforce issues such as gender equality (I loved reading about the commune in Koreshan Unity where women are equal to men, and certainly hold plenty of power in their community – some of the characters’ lines really made me laugh) whilst others were shown in a more serious light.
As is natural with a collection of stories, I enjoyed some more than others. A few of my favourites include Death of a Mudlark, which felt quite convincing in its subject matter and kept me wondering as to ‘whodunnit’, and The Adventure of the Koreshan Unity also shone for me. It was also great to have a different point of view – that of Detective Lestrade – for the final story, called The Common Correspondent, and this offered an enjoyable change from Watson’s narratives.
The one thing I didn’t like as much about these stories was the way that Sherlock Holmes’ noticing of small/ insignificant things was really played up. Almost (but not quite) every story honed in on the fact that in the original stories Holmes tends to notice very small, seemingly insignificant details about a person and then declare them out loud. Although I accept this is part of what makes the character so brilliant, it felt a little forced and like the authors felt they had to include this because it’s a Sherlock Holmes story. That is just me being very picky, though – everything else about this collection was very enjoyable.
The Sign of Seven is a great way to spend a few hours for any mystery fan; enjoy losing yourself in not one but seven Sherlock Holmes mysteries!
Many thanks to Titan Books for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.