Wanna-be fiction writers worry too much about what and how to tell the right story. In my days at the university, I told students not to spend a lot of energy on that thought. There are only about unique 13 stories, that is combinations of human circumstance. Beyond those, tales are a mix and match of those basic scenarios. Of course, I am talking only about the United States. Every culture has its own grasp on what is real life. For us, stories always have good guys and bad guys. Also, they drop yin-and-yang knowledge about the Seven Deadly Sins – pride, greed, anger, lust, gluttony, envy, and sloth. Or, Universal Virtues – prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, faith, hope, and love.
That is what makes C.G. Rosenquist’s Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Jeweled Falcon and Other Stories a worthy read, especially for readers new to MX publications’ vast Sherlock line. Fans that devour anything tied to the “world’s first consulting detective” or the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle legacy will find this collection of reprint and original short stories as satisfying as a Saturday night buffet. That said, mystery mavens who prefer Holmes served hot, with a puzzle of almost unfathomable flavor, will want more.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The ten-story Adventure of the Jeweled Falcon volume offers a number of clever twists. At moments it is imaginative.
Consider, “The Mystery of the Last Martian,” a real surprise. The Sci-fi/Mystery mashup pits the brain power of Doyle’s Baker Street heroes against the tentacled Martians in H. G. Well’s War of the Worlds. Yes! Originally published in Adventures in the Realm of HG Wells, Volume I, the result will intrigue readers, but is way outside the canon. Outside is not always a bad spot.
“The Adventure of the Portable Exo-Lung”, describes an incredible late 19th century contraption that turns Professor Moriarty into a late-day Darth Vader. When Londoners are plagued by arson, burglary, kidnap, and extortion the sinister level is high. The mayhem turns out to be bait for Holmes and the genius nemesis’ vengeance for Reichenbach Falls. Originally published in Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realm of Steam Punk, the dark tale churns with intrigue expected in a Holmes and Watson foray.
“The Adventure of the Jeweled Falcon,” is also vaguely reminiscent for those into Dashiell Hammett or Humphrey Bogart. It was first printed in The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part XIV; 2019 Annual, 1891-1897. As much as I wanted to dislike the Holmes version, its plot is “the stuff that dreams are made of.”
The volume even conjures the inevitable Holmes fan nightmare. “The Adventure of the Last Case,” is as it says. He retires to weed and write in Sussex. That is no spoiler, nor is it the end.