Sake of Game

COMING 12-4, 2018

Includes DP Lyle’s Short Story: “Bottom Line”




A sharp, affectionate, light-footed collection—-The New York Times Book Review

Devotees of the greatest of all fictional detectives will welcome this anthology from King and Klinger, who have assembled a murderers’ row of talent—-Publishers Weekly (Starred)



“For the Sake of the Game” Edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger 

Some truly fantastic authors have come together to offer up stories inspired by the Sherlock Holmes canon. This latest volume in the award-winning series has everything to choose from. Whether you are a lover of fantasies, or mysteries set in the beloved Arthur Conan Doyle world of Sherlock and Dr. Watson, or even wish to read a graphic tale that focuses on “insectoid analysis,” you will find each and every one of them here. 

This new anthology follows after “Echoes of Sherlock Holmes” and “In the Company of Sherlock Holmes,” and is absolutely sensational. With a treasure chest of award-winning authors that include the likes of Harley Jane Kozak, F. Paul Wilson, and so many others, this incredible tome is not just rooted in the past. Although stories of Holmes and Watson solving crimes do show themselves, imaginations go far and wide of Baker Street.

To take just a couple of examples from the slew of A+ stories, Peter S. Beagle offers up “Dr. Watson’s Song.” It is a song/poem that reaches into Watson’s mind and pulls out both his love and annoyance for his partner, and shows the reader his true understanding of Sherlock Holmes and the cost his friend has to pay in order to be the greatest crime solver of all time. 

Another great author, D.P. Lyle, presents “Bottom Line.” In this present-day mystery, with southern accents abounding, readers follow Billy Whitehead as he tries to find out how Carl Draper landed in the Scoggins’ Funeral Home. Although everyone believes it was a suicide that took him down, Billy knows a murderer is afoot. 

To speak about every one of the tales is impossible, but let us just say that this is a true celebration of Sherlock and would make Arthur Conan Doyle extremely proud. 

Reviewed by Amy Lignor, author of “The Double-Edged Sword” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine


Following their three earlier co-edited collections exploring farther and farther reaches of the universe of Sherlock Holmes pastiches (Echoes of Sherlock Holmes, 2016, etc.), King and Klinger have commissioned 14 new stories that make up their wildest, weirdest crop yet.

The goal not to write a straightforward period pastiche but to produce something more loosely inspired by the canon suggests at least three criteria by which the entries might be judged: their success as mysteries, the fidelity or ingenuity with which they replicate or transform notable thematic or stylistic devices of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, and the originality of the concepts that link them to the sacred writings. Virtually none of this year’s crop succeeds in all three of these areas. The strongest mysteries are Harley Jane Kozak’s breathlessly overplotted contemporary search for a missing twin, D.P. Lyle’s exposure of a modern fake suicide by recourse to “The Reigate Squires,” Weston Ochse’s encounter between a hot dog seller and a psychic prostitute in LA, and Jamie Freveletti’s elaborately worked-out tale of vanishings, ghosts, and counterterrorists. The most obviously Holmes-ian are F. Paul Wilson’s period tale of Holmes’ encounter with a woman nearly as impressive as Irene Adler, Alan Gordon’s droll account of young Sherlock’s apprenticeship to his sorely tried brother, Mycroft, and Zoë Sharp’s surprisingly detailed update of The Hound of the Baskervilles. The most original in their concepts are Peter S. Beagle’s poem in which Watson complains about Holmes even as he salutes him, Rhys Bowen’s reimagining of Holmes as a robot programmed with deductive powers, and William Kotzwinkle and Joe Servello’s comic-book saga of Inspector [Praying] Mantis and Dr. [Grass] Hopper. Despite their varied provocations, the contributions by Reed Farrel Coleman, Gregg Hurwitz, and Duane Swierczynski escape Holmes’ gravitational pull so completely that they float out into other universes.

Only “The Adventure of the Six Sherlocks,” Toni L.P. Kelner’s inventive, amusing story of a fatal poisoning at a Baker Street Con, hits the mark in every category. Fans will argue endlessly about which others are the real keepers.


King and Klinger’s entertaining fourth Holmes-themed anthology (after 2016’s Echoes of Sherlock Holmes) features well-known authors representing genres ranging from cozy to horror. The 14 selections include a poem, Peter S. Beagle’s “Dr. Watson’s Song,” which provides a deeper look at the doctor’s emotional life, and a comic, William Kotzwinkle and Joe Servello’s “The Case of the Naked Butterfly,” which continues the exploits of insects Inspector Mantis and Dr. Hopper. Fans of the BBC’s Sherlock will appreciate Alan Gordon’s take on Holmes’s relationship with Mycroft in “The Case of the Missing Case.” Reed Farrel Coleman weighs in with one of the more memorable contributions, the metaphysical “A Study in Absence,” in which a book editor asks for help tracing an author using the pseudonym of I.M. Knott. The best light entry is Harley Jane Kozak’s “The Walk-in,” featuring a Sherlockian British intelligence agent, which opens with the tantalizing line “It’s not every day that you walk into your apartment and find that your cat has turned into a dog.” This volume contains something for every fan of the Baker Street sleuth. (Dec.)

© Douglas Lyle 2015