In this anthology, authors have devised stories in which Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are lovers, or investigate mysteries of inverts hidden from the laws and cultures of the Victorian era; even the indomitable Lestrade has his turn at love; and where strange lights similar to the work of Jules Verne draw the detectives to infamous Cleveland ...
In this anthology, authors have devised stories in which Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are lovers, or investigate mysteries of inverts hidden from the laws and cultures of the Victorian era; even the indomitable Lestrade has his turn at love; and where strange lights similar to the work of Jules Verne draw the detectives to infamous Cleveland Street.
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It is not my practice to review Sherlockian fiction of such a specialized nature, however, I purchased this book because I collect Sherlockian pastiches and felt I needed to add the stories to my database. I made the mistake of reading the first and was caught in a carefully devised trap. The editor must have given very careful directions to the contributors, for I found very little here of a sexual nature. Instead, I found earnest and thoughtful fiction that concentrated on the problems caused by the very harsh laws in Victorian Britain that restricted those whom we would now characterize as ?following alternative lifestyles.? Indeed, the characters in these pages exhibit all sorts of alternative approaches to life.
My usual practice in reviewing anthologies is to give brief summaries of the individual tales, along with their titles and the authors? names. In this case, most of the stories consist of efforts by the characters to hide, discover and/or to fulfill their life conditions, so that approach would reveal too much of the point of the stories. Further, I have copies of many periodicals and anthologies of ?gay? materials and I seldom do more than check through the pages to catalogue titles, authors and characters included along with references to events, historical characters and Canonical, Apocryphal or Untold tales. All ten of these stories demanded attention and compelled sympathy or, at least, concern for the characters. The writing was of very high quality, the characters were well-developed and the plots were intricate and realistic.
Instead of inane characters indulging in sexual orgies, the reader is presented, mostly, with intelligent people trying to deal with the restrictions placed on their lives by a society that neither cares about nor understands them. These are stories of people who live in a world where they are guilty of heinous crimes simply because of their nature, not because of choices they have made or actions they have taken.
The stories are interesting, even disturbing. Many of the characters are not ?gay,? nor are they concerned with the societal view of homosexuality. Many are simply caught up in events because someone among their family or friends is accused of or involved in events that are thought to be so. The variety of characters and events is surprising, more varied than expected and very well presented. Only two ?monsters? appear and both are truly frightening, especially in that they have learned effectively to hide within society.
The editor has put together as fine a collection of ?alternative lifestyle? material as I have ever seen. I feel sure that the impetus and the execution needed to create this collection was supplied by him and he is to be congratulated on a fine job of producing a sympathetic and realistic view of the Nineteenth Century as seen from the viewpoint of those with alternative lifestyles.
Reviewed by: Philip K. Jones, January 2012
Oct 20, 2011
Crazy about Conan Doyle?
Are you crazy about Conan Doyle? Are you gay? Then this book is for you. For the rest of us, the books seems contrived. Does a victim really leave a clue by grasping the leg of a desk, which in those times was known as a "secretary" Pretty hard to believe, yes? My copy got recycled. I didn't think anyone I knew would really enjoy it.
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