This anthology consists of an Introduction, fourteen stories, three essays (one by A. C. D.) and notes about the editors. Each tale is preceded by a short note about the author. The Introduction calls this "a collection of new stories ... in which Holmes and Watson strike out for the United States" and that more or less describes the theme of the book.
The fourteen tales included begin with an account of "The Case of Colonel Warburton's Madness," by Lyndsay Faye, as cited in ENGR. In this tale. Watson tells Holmes of a mystery he encountered in San Francisco years before and Holmes provides an explanation. It serves as a good introduction to the book's theme in addition to being an interesting narrative. Lloyd Rose's "Ghosts and the Machine" recounts a visit, with their father, of the youthful Mycroft and Sherlock to America. They encounter Colonel Henry Olcott investigating some `Psychic' events shortly before he met Madame Blavtsky and they founded the Theosophical Society. The Holmes boys were not impressed by the events but did find Colonel Olcott admirable.
Steve Hockensmith's "Excerpts from an Unpublished Memoir..." gives us an interesting glimpse at Sherlock's career on the stage. Robert Pohle's "The Flowers of Utah" tells of a trip Holmes and Watson took to Utah financed by by an English Mormon following events in STUD, "to solve the case, once and for all." Their findings, of course, upset the Doctor's comfortable view of the resolution of that tale. Lauren Estleman's "The Adventure of the Coughing Dentist" introduces Holmes and Watson to another pair of prominent companions, Wyatt Earp and `Doc' Holliday. Then, Victoria Thompson tells us of Holmes solution to the disappearance of a prominent Minister's daughter at the request of Theodore Roosevelt, then Commissioner of the New York City Police Department in her "The Minister's Missing Daughter."
Gillian Linscott's "The Case of Colonel Crocket's Violin" treats us to the sight of Holmes being asked to identify the `real' violin of Davy Crocket from three possible competitors. Bill Crider renews Holmes' acquaintance with `Buffalo Bill' Cody, Frank Butler and Annie Oakley in "The Adventure of the White City" at the Columbian Exhibition, where Holmes shows an amazing grasp of recent events in the `Wild West.' In her "Recalled to Life," Paula Cohen tells us of a fascinating sidelight to one of the tasks Sherlock performed at Mycroft's request during `The Great Hiatus.' Daniel Stashower spins another tale of `The Great Houdini' as detective in his "The Seven Walnuts." As usual, brother `Dash' steers Harry into finding the truth, this time by asking him to write to Holmes about a disputed point.
In Matthew Pearl's "The Adventure of the Boston Dromio," Holmes and Watson investigate the murder charges against the Doctor who saved Watson's life in Afghanistan. Carolyn Wheat describes a unique method of murder in "The Case of the Rival Queens" while Holmes and Watson explore a Theosophist community. Jon L. Breen teams Holmes with a former acquaintance, Clive Armitage, in "The Adventure of the Missing Three Quarters." He also treats us to a close-up view of Amos Alonzo Stagg, an icon of College Football. In "The Song at Twilight, Michael Walsh tells us the long-awaited story of the creation of Altamont, the beginning of "His Last Bow."
In general, the tales are well done. There are few outright contradictions of the Canon and most of the `Americanisms' are appropriate. Unfortunately, none seem to stand out either. The most powerfully written tale was also the least `Sherlockian,' while few offered any new insights into either Holmes or Watson. The historical characters were either unpleasent or, for the most part, uninteresting, although Estleman's Earp and Holliday seem to be an exception to this generalization. In fact, Thompson's `minister's daughter,' who never appears in person, seems to be the most interesting character in the lot.