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The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  19,725 ratings  ·  324 reviews
A Sherlockiana primer / Christopher Roden --
The doctor's case / Stephen King --
The horror of the many faces / Tim Lebbon --
The case of the bloodless sock / Anne Perry --
The adventure of the other detective / Bradley H. Sinor --
A scandal in Montreal / Edward D. Hoch --
The adventure of the field theorems / Vonda N. McIntyre --
The adventure of the death-fetch / Darrell Schwei
Paperback, First Edition, 454 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Night Shade Books (first published September 1st 2009)
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  19,725 ratings  ·  324 reviews

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4.0 stars. An overall very good collection with some superb stories (including one "All Time Favorite"), some okay stories and some good to very good stories. If you like Sherlock Holmes stories, you will like this collection (possibly even love it). I have separated the contents of the book into the categories above (superb, good to very good and okay) to be of help in navigating this collection (but of course this is only my opinion).


A Study in Emerald (Neil Gaiman). N
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I can't even begin to describe how awesome this book is. True, I've been a Sherlockian nearly all of my life,reading nearly all of the Canon as a child and my first pastiches (the ones by Nicholas Meyer) in my early teens. The brand new BBC series has done but add to my enthusiasm.
This pastiche anthology is any Sherlockian's dream, putting Holmes and Watson in many different situations,that include time travel,pirates, Cthulhu myths,alien invasions, attempted assassinations,even Holmes having s
Vanessa Wu
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
The book I was going to review tonight was a really dirty, sexy little thing by some independent authors that got me slavering with senseless lust; but due to a technical/legal hitch to do with access to data and some commercial jiggery-pokery between two dot coms, that particular book cannot be found on Goodreads at the moment. So I'll review The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes instead.

I wasn't expecting much of it, to be honest. I listened to a quite well written introduction by, I pr
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Sherlock Holmes
The stories I read from this collection are:

'The Doctor's Case' by Stephen King

For as much as I like Stephen King, I was not sure it was within his range to write a Sherlock Holmes story. And while the reader can see the license he took with the characters, I was left fairly impressed with this result. The highlight of this story is its premise -- King has Watson solve this case ahead of Holmes, something that never happened in the canon.

'The Shocking Affair of the Dutch Steamship Friesland' by
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mystery
As with any modern anthology of Sherlock Holmes stories, there are some high points as well as a few lows. And this collection is no different. Some of my favorite stories in this collection are the ones that follow the traditional Doyle formula. And then there are the stories that push the boundaries, taking the reader out of his or her comfort zone and pitting Holmes and Watson against dinosaurs, aliens, demonic spirits, pirates and the like. Some of these unconventional tales are entertaining ...more
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Cthulhu, Sherlock Holmes and much more unworldly things to adore.
Hal Bodner
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
The trouble with most anthologies today is that they're uneven. Two or three amazing stories are bundled in with a majority of mediocre stories with one or two complete stinkers thrown in for good measure. Worse, it seems like a lot of anthology editors are too quick to abandon the theme of the collection in favor of including a "name" author. The book might very well include a previously unpublished story by someone like Robert Bloch or Peter Straub, but if I buy an anthology entitled "Demon Zo ...more
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Speculations about the mental state of suspects are rarely so fruitful as concentration on the salient facts of the case.”

This anthology breaks the curse of mediocrity which bedevils the category. Worth reading to see how accomplished authors of various genres breathe new life into the familiar tropes of the classic detective duo.

“I wish you all the happiness you deserve.”

Each author puts his or her spin on Holmes, of course, but some manage to turn Holmes and Victorian England upside down. Oft
May 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, own
There were a few good stories in here, but overall I found most of the stories to be predictable and to be but shadows of Conan Doyle's greatness. I wouldn't really recommend this book to others as it can be tedious to make your way through the whole thing, but like I said a few of the stories were pretty good, such as 'The Singular Habits of Wasps' by Geoffrey Landis, 'The Human Mystery' by Tanith Lee, and ' The Vale of the White Horse' by Sharyn McCrumb.
Welcome to the 1st Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Awards Show, where yours truly presents awards to the stories in this anthology as a way to celebrate the honestly fabulous talent displayed in this book.

But before I go ahead with declaring the winners, I have a few words to say about the editor of this fine collection. This is the first John Joseph Adams anthology I’ve had the pleasure to read, and I’m glad to report that it was a wonderful ride. Never had I read a better organized a
Mar 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a nice collection of pastiches and homages with a fantastic or speculative bent selected from a wide range of sources. There has been a vast number of new works or varying quality featuring Holmes since he entered the public domain, and this volume collects many of the better short pieces that I've tried. (Another favorite is Sherlock Holmes in Orbit edited by Resnick and Greenberg in 1995; Robert Sawyer's excellent story appeared there first.) I quickly became impatient with some of the ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was a very enjoyable book. I don't recognise all the authors of course, but the ones I did stayed true to their writing style. There was some stories that I found ok, very much like a normal Holmes story, there were quite a few that were impressive, some with supernatural elements that blended in perfectly with the story. Lots of Chutuhlu references ironically. Just one story I did not like at all. But the best of all was the very last one. It was a jewel, something impressive, that I did n ...more
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to
I do love a good Holmes fan fiction collection! Many more good than bad here. I'll try to do as many individual reviews as I can.

The Horror of Many Faces: Watson sees a man brutally murdered right in front of him on the street and the murderer is...Holmes? Bum Bum Baaaaaaa! I previously read this one but had forgotten the twist. Jolly good.

The Case of the Bloodless Sock: A great kidnapping mystery with just a dash of a familiar villain.

The Adventure of the Other Detective: Watson is whisked away
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
Like all anthologies, this collection is hit or miss. None of the stories were particularly bad or anything, it's just that not a whole lot of them were particularly awesome, either. A lot of them were fun and entertaining, but also forgettable. (I commented in my status updates with brief thoughts after pretty much every story, so the run down is there.)

The ones I remember the most, off hand, though, are:
The Doctor's Case
A Study in Emerald
The Vale of the White Horse (i.e. "the one with the hor
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
All the anthologies I have read are a bit hit and miss. A couple of stories stand out and some make you wonder how they ever got considered in the first place..

The stories that work best here are the ones that conform to the Arthur Conan Doyle style and dont mess with Watson being the narrator.

The stand out tales for me were "The Doctor's Case" by Stephen King, "A Study In Emerald" by Neil Gaiman and "The Singular Habits Of Wasps" by Geoffrey A. Landis.

Of the 28 tales in the collection, the 3 I
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Meh. A collection of passable Sherlock Holmes fan fiction pieces, most of them faithful enough to the style of the original stories. Gaiman's A Study in Emerald is the only one which actually bothers to build a significantly different universe and to thoroughly explore its implications. I also liked Sawyer's You See but You Do Not Observe for its metatextuality. Other than that, the collection isn't really worth your time unless you're the famous detective's most ardent fan.
Shane Phillips
Only got 25% through and just could not get into it. These do not feel like Sherlock Holmes stories to me. I just can't see listening to the remaining 12 hours.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After reading all of the Arthur C. Doyle stories several times, I realized that my cravings for Sherlock literature had to be sated in a different way. I required something new, a change from the good old stories. This book is what Goodreads recommended so this book is what I choose to read.

As I was flipping through the pages of the first story I wasn't even aware of the subtle process that was happening. I was slowly discovering a whole new world, whole new shores. I always had a certain level
Tere Fredericks
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Please forgive me. While I read this book A LONG TIME AGO, I need to go back and get some insight into what I actually read. This book is good enough to deserve a proper review -- I know this isn't one - but hang on, I'll get to it. Still in my carousel. I do know it definitely deserved the five stars.

Please forgive me.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
The anthology, as all anthologies are, is not homogenic and some stories are better than others. But the majority are interesting and unexpected, and, most of all, they give us the pleasure to meet Holmes and Watson all over again.
Obviously, Holmes learning about the Schrodinger's cat is priceless :)
Beloved duo
seldom read, often copied
Maria Riegger
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan, and want to read more stories of Holmes and Watson written in the vein of Arthur Conan Doyle, then do yourself a favor and read these short stories! What a treat! Here you've got everything from sci-fi / fantasy / time travel to traditional Victorian settings.
Karen Dandurant
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at how other authors write a Sherlock Holmes story. Some really good takes and some misses. Still worth a read.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anth-coll
Twenty eight stories written over a span of twenty two years, these tales feature Holmes and Watson and something outside the norm, from ghosts to Cthulhu to physics and time travel. A really excellent collection from some very big-name authors.

Hard to pick favorites from this collection, but the offerings of Neil Gaiman and Anthony Burgess are both excellent.

The audio book version of this collection contains only twenty seven stories, lacking Stephen King's "The Doctor's Case", which was also p
Tatiana Kim
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, fiction
Not for me.
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 06, 2014 rated it liked it
This was the last book I finished in 2014 and it fulfilled one of the categories in the Eclectic Reader Challenge (ERC). It is a good argument for participating in a challenge that is meant to push one out of normal reading ruts because this was fun and I can’t remember the last time I read an Anthology. Figuring out how to review it may be a challenge all in itself!

As the title suggests, the anthology is a collection of short stories by many different authors but all featuring the Sherlock Holm
Maya Bohnhoff
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love Sherlock Holmes. I mean, I really, really, really love Sherlock Holmes. So much so that I will not, under any circumstances that I can foresee, go to see the new movie starring Robert Downey Jr. (Chained naked to a bed, indeed. Harrumph! Sherlock Holmes would never contrive to find himself in that … er … position.)

I cut my teeth on Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. Hound of the Baskervilles was my favorite book when I was a kid (a Scholastic Book Club find) and when I saw Jeremy Brett perform
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone

Every so often, despite my firm resolve to winnow down the monstrous length of my TBR shelf, I cave in to impulse and read something else. (Let’s not talk about my reading the entire “Dortmunder” set of novels by Donald Westlake. I happily sampled it after good reviews here on GR and convinced myself to extend the detour.) The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was maliciously positioned on top of a library shelf where it was known my eye would glance whilst retrieving previously-requested
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John Joseph Adams is the series editor of BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY. He is also the bestselling editor of many other anthologies, such as ROBOT UPRISINGS, DEAD MAN'S HAND, BRAVE NEW WORLDS,WASTELANDS, and THE LIVING DEAD. Recent and forthcoming books include WHAT THE #@&% IS THAT?, OPERATION ARCANA, PRESS START TO PLAY, LOOSED UPON THE WORLD, and THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH (consisti ...more

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