Book Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook edited by Howard Hopkins
One of the fun things about fan fiction is the “crossover.” That’s where two separate fictional worlds are combined in the same story, which is generally impossible in the source material. Having the Enterprise crew battle the Daleks, Sailor Moon teaming up with the Brady Bunch, Bella Swan falling in love with Dracula, or any other bizarre combination the fan writer can think of.
Combine this with a public domain (mostly) character like Sherlock Holmes, and you can even do professionally published crossover fan fiction. And thus this book. Each story teams Holmes with other fictional characters or real people from the time period of the stories. Some of the tales just barely qualify as crossovers with a quick reference at the end, while others pile on the characters and cameos.
There are fourteen stories, most of which are only available in this volume. “Sherlock Holmes and the Lost World” by Martin Powell, which guest stars Professor Challenger, has appeared in another anthology. Other notable tales are “The Adventure of the Fallen Stone” by Win Scott Eckert, which goes full-on Wold-Newton (a fan theory that ties together many fictional heroes with a mysterious meteorite), and “The Adventure of the Imaginary Nihilist” by Will Murray, which guest stars Richard Henry Savage, a real life person who inspired parts of both Doc Savage and the Avenger.
I particularly liked Barbara Hambly’s “The Adventure of the Sinister Chinaman”, which guest stars the Wizard of Oz…or a delusional man with a similar name. “The Adventure of the Lost Specialist” by Christopher Sequeira lays on the crossovers thick with an outright science fiction premise, but as Watson himself admits in the introduction, it’s not much of a traditional Holmes tale.
There’s also “The Folly of Flight” by Matthew P. Mayo, guest starring French thief Arsené Lupin. Lupin’s author, Maurice LeBlanc, was one of the first Sherlock Holmes crossover fan fiction authors; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not appreciate the compliment, so Lupin’s clashes with Holmes were rewritten with a slightly different name, and a bit more mocking of a tone.
This is a fun book, but not for Holmes purists.