BOOK REVIEW: Further MX Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

 

BOOK REVIEW: Further MX Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

 

MX Publishing continues to release new Sherlock Holmes stories, bringing new perspectives and approaches to familiar figures and settings.

The Last Confession of Sherlock Holmes by Kieran Lyne is a new edition to a popular subgenre of Sherlock Holmes literature: Holmes’ investigation of the Jack the Ripper murders.  Lyne takes a multifaceted approach to the case, creating a reading experience that is both challenging and worth the effort.  Interestingly, many of the chapters are narrated by different characters.  At first, Watson’s familiar voice tells the story.  In the next chapter, it becomes quite clear early on that the person telling the story isn’t the good doctor, but it isn’t until halfway through the chapter that it becomes clear who the recognizable figure telling the story is, and in the next chapter it takes a bit of time to determine who the new narrator is, and then again in a later chapter.  The first chapter features many passages that are either taken directly from “The Final Problem” and ‘The Empty House” or are clearly rewritten.

As the narrative unfolds, a newly returned-from-the-dead Holmes investigates a resurgence in the Ripper murders, which may or may not be connected to Professor Moriarty and his gang, and Moriarty may or may not be dead.  The narrative requires close attention, and some readers may not be thrilled with the fates of some of their favorite recurring characters.  Nevertheless, this is a fast-moving page-turner that keeps the suspense moving.  The title is a bit of a red herring– the confession central to the story doesn’t actually refer to something horrible that Sherlock Holmes has done, but to a critical admission he cleverly extracts.  This is a dark story, and a compelling one.

The Vatican Cameos by Richard T. Ryan takes a fleeting reference from the original Canon and spins it into a centuries-spanning tale of art, intrigue, sin, and political power plays.  Ryan alternates between the early twentieth century, as the kindly Pope Leo XII hires Holmes to search for the long-lost cameos, as they might have repercussions as to the political fates of Italy and Vatican City.  Each chapter alternates between the twentieth and sixteenth centuries, as flashbacks show Michelangelo being drawn into the web of Pope Alexander VI, a Borgia.  Many of the details of the Borgia pope’s reign are lurid, and Ryan notes that they’re drawn from from actually historical accounts… but the veracity of certain scandalous events is challenged by some historians, so take it with a grain of salt if you like.  Ultimately, I enjoyed the chapters with Holmes and Watson more than the flashbacks, but it’s a fun expansion of one of Doyle’s more intriguing throwaway lines.

The Art of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of large books filled with stories from The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes series, so readers who already own multiple volumes of this series should be aware of the reprints.  The great addition to these tales is the artwork.  Each specially selected story is paired with an artist’s illustration, and much of the art is really exceptional.  There are some simple depictions of scenes, where others are surreal manifestations of the themes. Some of my favorites include Bruce Helander’s collage- like image of a crime scene investigation against a backdrop of assorted correspondence, Lupe Lawrence’s portrait of Holmes and Watson walking down the street in a snowstorm, Aaron Schwartz’s hieroglyphics-backdrop behind a sinister illusionist, and Pedro Linares’ abstract swirling image.  Fun tales are blended with artwork that is sometimes beautiful, sometimes disturbing, and nearly always intriguing.

All of these books are well worth the time of Sherlock Holmes fans who want to explore beyond the original Canon.

 

–Chris Chan

 

The Art of Sherlock Holmes– Global Edition 1 & 2

Conceived and Curated by Phil Growick

MX Publishing

2020

$49.95 Standard Edition

$64.95 Special Edition

$74.95 Personalized Edition

 

The Art of Sherlock Holmes– West Palm Beach

Conceived and Curated by Phil Growick

MX Publishing

2019

$49.95 Standard Edition

$64.95 Special Edition

$74.95 Personalized Edition

 

 The Art of Sherlock Holmes– USA Edition

Conceived and Curated by Phil Growick

MX Publishing

2019

$49.95 Standard Edition

$64.95 Special Edition

$74.95 Personalized Edition

 

 The Last Confession of Sherlock Holmes

By Kieran Lyne

MX Publishing

2014

$14.95 Paperback

 

The Vatican Cameos: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure

By Richard T. Ryan

MX Publishing

2016

$28.95 Hardcover

$16.95 Paperback

 

 

Posted in Blog Article, Reviews, Sherlock.

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