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on 22 October 2011
In the "Gaslight...." series, this third offering appears to be the weakest, despite a few bright spots. Its contents, and my personal thoughts concerning them, are:

(*) Introduction by Charles Prepolec: a candid view of the origin of this series of Holmes-dealing with-supernatural books, and some thoughts.

1) The Comfort of the Seine by Stephen Volk: a sad piece that suggests why & how Sherlock Holmes might have caught the fever (addiction?) of solving mysteries. Very gothic, very Poe-esque. "A".
2) The Adventure of Lucifer's Footprints by Christopher Fowler: good mystery, but not even an ambiguous solution, only a few scattered thoughts. "B"
3) The Deadly Sin of Sherlock Holmes by Tom English: a chilling & succinctly told tale of Holmes pursuing a deadly grimoire. "A"
4) The Colour that Came to Chiswick by William Meikle: an adventure that belongs to the "X-Files" genre unabashedly, and is a 'fun' read. "A"
5) A Country Death by Simon K. Unsworth: another grim & unrelenting story that is well told, but which uses Holmes only for his name, and in connection with bees. This is more sci-fi horror than a mystery as such. "A"
6) From the Tree of Time by Fred Saberhagen: a short, compact, muted and beautiful piece, from the pen of a master. "A+"
7) Sherlock Holmes and the Diving Bell by Simon Clark: a superb mystery squarely fitting the "X-Files" genre. As a matter of fact, the publishers should seriously rechristen the series as "Holmes-meets-X Files" rather than "uncanny tales of Holmes", if these stories are going to be staple in future (since even in the previous volume Niel Jackson's "Celeste" was one of the high-points). "A+"
8) The Executioner by Lawrence C. Connolly: a gentle, serious, somewhat philosophical story dealing with "what might have happened if Holmes had indeed fallen down at the Reichenbach falls". "A"
9) Sherlock Holmes and the Great Game by Kevin Cockle: an incompetent piece of mystic hotchpotch that undermines this volume substantially. "B-"
10) The Greatest Mystery by Paul Kane: another mystic piece with too many open ends. Not good. "B"
11) The House of Blood by Tony Richards: a proper gothic horror story that surprisingly manages to blend Sherlock Holmes into present-day Vegas rather neatly. Good pastiche, good horror. "A+"
12) The Adventure of the Six Maledictions by Kim Newman: the best piece in the entire collection, without a single mention of Sherlock Holmes, but with lots of 'arcane' stuff thrown around for pure fun & adventure. If you feel tempted by this piece to read more Moriarty & Moran adventures, then I would like to recommend Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the DUrbervilles (Professor Moriarty Novels). "A+"

So, if "A+" is 5, "A" is 4, "B" is 3 and "B-" is 2, then what is the weighted average score of this book? 4.0 out of 5! Recommended, obviously.
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on 8 November 2012
Some very good and amusing tales. Some written to follow the footsteps of Doyle some not so true. On the whole worth a quiet night in.
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on 8 November 2011
This collection is the fifth by this pair of editors and it is, perhaps, their best yet. The first two collections consisted mostly of more conventional writings that told some of the Untold Tales. The three later collections lean strongly toward the eerie and outré. A few of the tales in this book can be explained by modern science and rational circumstances, but even that is not always comforting. All are interesting, some are exceptional and a few are unpleasant.

"The Comfort of the Seine" is a novella by Stephen Volk. In it we watch a painfully young Sherlock Holmes take a vacation from his studies at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (where I have always believed he studied) to visit Paris with friends. There Sherlock falls in love, acquires a mentor and selects a profession, all with a large dose of adolescent angst. Strict Sherlockians may disagree with the author's premise, as do I, but it is still an interesting and insightful tale. "The Adventure of Lucifer's Footprints" is a short story by Christopher Fowler that tells of an evil done during the Crimean war and its ghastly punishment in Devon. "The Deadly Sin of Sherlock Holmes" is a imaginative novella by Tom English that provides an alternative cause for "The Great Hiatus" and a name source for the "Napoleon of Crime."

"The Color That Came to Chiswick" is a short story by William Meikle that tells about sabotage in a brewery, or of something in a brewery. What is really going on or growing up in Chiswick is open to question. "From the Tree of Time" is a short story by Fred Saberhagen that tells an incident in his `life of Dracula' series. The Count is asked by Holmes to lend his expertise to an investigation and his comments lead to a quick solution. "The Executioner" is a short story by Lawrence C. Connolly that takes place following events in "The Final Problem." There seems to be an unnamed book by the original Dr. Frankenstein, known to Sherlock but not to the reviewer, that explains much about the central character in this tale. In the end, Sherlock sets out on "The Great Hiatus" for far different reasons than those given in "The Adventure of the Empty House."

"A Country Death" is a short Novella by Simon Curt Unsworth that describes the death of Holmes and its investigation by some unfortunate policemen. Sadly, a countryman or a biologist would find serious problems with the evidence and events as presented. "Sherlock Holmes and the Great Game" is a short story by Kevin Cockle that tells of a mission by Holmes and Watson to the Canadian Arctic at the behest of the Crown, or of some Higher Authority. "Sherlock Holmes and the Diving Bell" is a short story by Simon Clark that is a bit confusing and disjoint.

"The Greatest Mystery" is a short story by Paul Kane that pits Holmes and Watson against their greatest opponent. While final victory is unsure, a small battle is won. "The House of Blood" is a short story by Tony Richards. It presents Holmes in 21st Century Las Vegas and is a more interesting story than one would expect from the premise. "The Adventure of the Six Maledictions" is a novella by Kim Newman that is worth the price of the entire book. It is an even more hilarious narrative by the Colonel Moran of "A Volume in Vermillion" that tells the problems he and Professor Moriarty encounter dealing with the minions of `a one-eyed yellow idol.'

This compilation is certainly worth the price. If all of the stories are not to your taste, some certainly will be. The variety of tales is wide, with something (or things) for everyone's tastes.

Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, November 2011
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on 30 July 2014
Fabulous set of stories with a hint of Lovecraft with a dash of Sherlock.
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on 9 July 2012
A nice easy read, but I feel the short story style only works for a few of these pastiches, in particular Kim Newmans contribution.
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on 20 August 2012
I am most happy with the way my order was handled: received the item swiftly and in perfect state.Couldn't be better.
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