Happy New Year!
Introduction to Sherlock Holmes and the Clockwork of Death
Sherlock Holmes lived.
Anyone who denies this suffers from delusions and deserves a sound thrashing.
Sherlockian biographical scholarship (commonly called “The Game”) arose as a response to a myriad of discrepancies in Watson’s writings of the master detective Sherlock Holmes, and the Sherlockian tradition in which the object of the fictional biography is treated as a real person followed close on its heels. In the Sherlockian Game Holmes’s amanuensis, Dr. Watson, is also treated as a real person. As Dr. Watson narrates the cases, Arthur Conan Doyle is relegated to the status of Watson’s “editor.”
It stands to reason, then, that there were been many more cases documented by Watson which Doyle never edited and incorporated into the original Canon. The plethora of Sherlockian tales, purporting to come from the legendary battered tin dispatch case, or buried in the attic of some American relative of Watson’s, and so on, bears witness to Watson’s literary fecundity.
Many such tales deviate from the strict confines of Holmes’ deductive powers applied to realistic mysteries, and delve into the realms of the fantastic, the mystical, the outré. Such are those of Watson’s stories discovered and edited for publication by Christian Endres in the present volume. In so doing, Endres follows in a rich tradition of bringing to light the sort of Holmes adventures at which less imaginative followers of the Great Detective scoff and dismiss out-of-hand.
Holmes is Holmes—the violin, the cocaine, Mrs. Hudson, our beloved seventeen steps up to 221B are all present—but in these pages we see him intersect with the likes of Peter Pan, Captain Nemo, the Land of Oz, Count Dracula, and Lovecraftian horrors.
And why not?
Many are the fans of Holmes’ extraordinary adventures. He fought the Martians several times (most notably in Sherlock Holmes’ War of the Worlds by Manly W. Wellman and Wade Wellman), confronted Count Dracula even more often (in Loren D. Estleman’s Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula: The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count and many others) and confronted myriad Cthulhuoid terrors (in Shadows Over Baker Street, Michael Reaves and John Pelan, eds., among others). These tales by Dr. Watson, unearthed and brought to light by Endres, are worthy and charming additions to this brand of Holmesian storytelling.
“No ghosts need apply,” indeed!
Win Scott Eckert