Monday, May 29, 2023

More WILD Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - by Will Murray

Have you read Will Murray’s first collection of WILD Holmes stories? If NO, my review of that one is HERE. If YES, you’ll be pleased to learn this second volume is even WILDER. Holmes and Watson face some of their strangest mysteries, and some even appear to cross over into the supernatural. Do they really? That’s for you to discover.

If you know Mr. Murray only as the worthy successor to Lester Dent (Doc Savage) and Novell Page (The Spider), you’ll enjoy seeing him put on his Conan Doyle pants and deliver the goods on Holmes and Watson. 

Particularly cool are three tales teaming our heroes with Algnernon Blackwood’s psychic investigator John Silence. With an intellect equal to Holmes’ own, Silence is both a partner and a rival, and these stories force Holmes to reexamine the boundaries between the possible and impossible. “The Adventure of the Abominable Adder” features a serpent-shaped ring (which may or may not have originated in ancient Egypt) that seems to bite the wearer. “The Adventure of the Sorrowing Mudlark” finds the ghost of a long-dead lady haunting the Thames riverbed at night. And in “The Adventure of the Emerald Urchin,” an ancient legend of green-skinned children emerging from an underground world appears to have a modern-day recurrence.

The competition and by-play between Holmes and Silence (along with Watson’s sense of stubborn disbelief) adds an additional layer of interest to these tales. I have not read any of Blackwood’s John Silence stories, but these made me want to check them out.

On their own, Holmes and Watson struggle with a pair of deaths attributed to spontaneous combustion; a stage performer exhibiting impossible strength; a man who dies in bed with his blood missing; a cabman’s shelter that appears and vanishes, taking cabmen with it; and a man seemingly blown out of his own chimney.

There’s also the cover story, in a which a tree seems to grown an eyeball, and  a wind-up adventure in which all London is agog about coins that seem to prove the legend of Atlantis.

WILD adventures? No doubt about it. And from hints in the back of the book, Volume 3 is going to be even WILDER.