Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes canon found a home and a ravenous readership in the pages of The Strand Magazine in the late 1800s. Now, more than a century later, author Lyndsay Faye has continued that tradition with her own Holmes adventures in the modern-day incarnation of The Strand. Fortunately for Holmes aficionados, if you haven’t been able to keep up with the publication, 15 of her tales (including two new stories) are now available in a new, collected volume, The Whole Art of Detection: Lost Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes.
Faye divides the collection into neat time periods in Holmes’ and John Watson’s lives, with adventures occurring pre-Baker Street, during the early Baker Street years and post-Reichenbach Falls. There are even a few tales set in Holmes’ later years. While not as memorable as Doyle’s best stories, Faye does an admirable job of filling the gaps between some of those tales with interesting asides. The stories are at times emotional—such as the case of “An Empty House,” in which Watson contemplates leaving London and the painful loss of his wife and Holmes behind, only to discover Holmes is very much alive. Other stories, like “The Adventure of the Memento Mori,” are shocking, as our intrepid pair discover a devious criminal slowly poisoning the patients in a women’s home.
A lifelong devotee of Doyle’s works, Faye broke onto the book scene with the Holmes novel Dust and Shadow, earning critical appraise from the Conan Doyle estate itself. Her short stories may be even better. Faye easily captures the essence of Holmes and Watson, both in voice and style. Readers will feel as if they are in the cozy confines of 221B Baker Street right alongside this often feuding and sometimes teasing pair of old friends or, better yet, sitting beside them in a bouncing carriage as they race to rescue a would-be victim from an otherwise heinous end.