Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets is a short story collection. Specifically, it’s a collection of 14 short stories, all of which reimagine Sherlock Holmes to a greater or lesser extent.
The world’s most famous detective, as you’ve never seen him before!
This is Sherlock Holmes as you’ve never seen him before: as an architect in a sleepy Australian town, as a gentleman in seventeenth-century Worcestershire, as a precocious school girl in a modern British comprehensive. He’s dodging his rent in the squalid rooms of the notorious Chelsea Hotel in ’68, and preventing a bloody war between the terrible Lords Wizard of a world of fantasy.
Editor David Thomas Moore brings together the finest of celebrated and new talent in SF and Fantasy to create a spectrum of Holmes stories that will confound everything you ever thought you knew about the world’s greatest detective.
It’s an interesting collection of stories although, inevitably, there are some that I enjoyed more than others. Highlights for me included Kelly Hale’s Black Alice which shifts Sherlock Holmes to the Enlightenment and pits him against the parochial superstitions of seventeenth-century Worcestershire. This felt like a near-perfect setting for the great detective and I would loved to have seen more like this.
Then there was Kaaron Warren’s The Lantern Men which was very dark. If you can imagine Edgar Allen Poe having set a Sherlock Holmes story in Australia, then you have pretty much captured the feel of this story. Emma Newman’s A Woman’s Place imagines a near-future dystopia and explains — rather brilliantly — why he unflappable, ever-present Mrs. Hudson continues to put up with Holmes.
The Small World of 221B by Ian Edginton is an overtly strange story that I found myself enjoying a great deal more than I expected. The Final Conjuration by Adrian Tchaikovsky makes no attempt to re-imagine Holmes, preferring to plonk him unaltered into a high fantasy setting, to brilliant effect.
The Innocent Icarus by James Lovegrove gives us a Holmes in a world of superheroes and All The Single Ladies by Gini Koch gives a breezily flippant Holmes against a background of reality TV.
And finally, there’s Parallels by Jenni Hill which takes the re-inventing Holmes idea to it’s limit with a pair of teenage girls.
Obviously, other people will respond to different stories differently and will find other highlights. But you have any interest in the idea of a re-imagined Sherlock Holmes, and even if you don’t, this collection is well worth a read.