Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook (ed by Christopher Sequeira, Echo)
The stories in this collection of fan fiction commissioned by Sherlock Holmes aficionado Christopher Sequeira come from writers both emerging and established (better known names include Kerry Greenwood, Meg Keneally and Lucy Sussex). Those writers imagine the famous duo in colonial Australia, visiting various locales from city to bush. So we have Holmes, with his acute intelligence (and his infuriating—but narratively necessary—habit of refusing to tell Watson all he knows until the very last), and Watson, with his straight-man obtuseness, meeting characters including dastardly bushrangers, fraudsters and Antipodean police of varying competence. The contributors have taken their brief seriously, respectfully inhabiting Watson’s voice, but many have also had fun—coming up with quirky ideas for plot twists (Brazilian poison injected into the victim through a tricked-up ring, for example, or the disappearance of a bunyip) and playing with the tropes. Some of the stories work better than others, of course. This will appeal not just to Holmes enthusiasts, who will enjoy assessing how faithful the stories are to the originals, but to readers who enjoy historical fiction or just a good old-fashioned mystery story.
Lorien Kaye is a freelance writer and editor, and has been writing about books and the book industry for over 20 years