Last year, Diversion Books released Baker Street Irregulars, a collection of 13 stories featuring alternate versions of Sherlock Holmes. Among others, the book included “Identity,” a story that paired up a brilliant young woman named Shirley Holmes with an African-American med student named Jack Watson.
Today, the sequel has been released! It’s the book birthday for Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot. Like the first one, it’s edited by the dream team of Michael A. Ventrella & Jonathan Maberry, and like the first one, it’s got a Shirley-and-Jack story, this one called “Six Red Dragons.”
Here’s the full table of contents:
- Introduction: “My Old Friend Sherlock Holmes” by Jonathan Maberry
- “The Problem of the Three Journals” by Narrelle M. Harris (Sherlock is an Australian hipster)
- “Six Red Dragons” by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Sherlock is a young girl in modern New York City)
- “The Adventure of the Diode Detective” by Jody Lynn Nye (Sherlock is a home security system)
- “Investigations upon Taxonomy of Venomous Squamates” by R. Rozakis (Sherlock is a graduate student at a lab)
- “Papyrus” by Sarah Stegall (Sherlock is a female librarian in ancient Egypt)
- “My Dear Wa’ats” by Hildy Silverman (Sherlock is an alien ship’s captain)
- “A Scandal in Chelm” by Daniel M. Kimmel (Sherlock is a rabbi)
- “The Affair of the Green Crayon” by Stephanie M. McPherson (Sherlock is a grade school teacher)
- “A Study in Space” by Derek Beebe (Sherlock is a teenager on a moon station)
- “Sin Eater and the Adventure of Ginger Mary” by Gordon Linzner (Sherlock is a “sin eater” in rural post-Civil War America)
- “The Adventure of the Double-Sized Final Issue” by Mike Strauss (Sherlock is a comic book character)
- “A Very Important Nobody” by Chuck Regan (Sherlock is an investigator on one of Jupiter’s moons)
- “Ho Ho Holmes” by Nat Gertler (Sherlock is Santa Claus)
And here’s an excerpt from “Six Red Dragons.”
“Hey, Shirley,” I said as I led Lestrade in. “Your cop buddy’s here.”
She was arranging the pastries on the three-tiered tray and didn’t look up at either of us. “Welcome, Detective. Hello, Jack. I see you had a difficult shift in the emergency room.”
Shirley hadn’t known that I was doing an ER shift today—mostly because I hadn’t known myself until I showed up at work. Like most med students, I went where they told me to go, and because someone called in sick, I got the ER shift instead of the lab shift I was scheduled for.
With a sigh, Shirley added, “Before you ask how I knew, you’re wearing a different shirt than you were wearing when you left, specifically the one you keep in your locker as a backup, you have the same soap smell you had the last time you had to shower at the hospital after your shift, there are tiny flecks of blood and vomit on parts of your shoes, and a bruise on your left arm, all indicators of the somewhat more chaotic nature of an emergency room shift. Also, you have bags under your eyes, which has only happened when you’ve worked the emergency room.”
“I wasn’t gonna ask that,” I said with a smile. I’d given up asking how she knew stuff, ‘cause it was always just that she noticed every damn thing. And it was Saturday night in the ER, which meant lots of puke, piss, and shit on top of the expected blood. “I was gonna ask if I could join you and the detective here for your tea.”
“I did not set a place for you. However, your need for caffeine is obvious, and the traditional tea service is generally more than two people can reasonably drink, so you may join us, yes.”
I had to admit, as soon as I saw the two places set out, I figured she was gonna kick me upstairs because I wasn’t part of the already set service, but she worked her way through letting me stay. I was kinda hoping she wouldn’t. The detective owing me a favor was nice and all, but I was really tired.
Still, she was also right that the caffeine hit would be good.
I offered to get my own place setting, and Shirley said, “That will not be necessary. I am the host, and it is my responsibility to adjust the place settings accordingly.”
“Maybe, but I know where everything is, and you look like you want to start hearing what the detective has to say.”
“That is true.” She sounded almost relieved. Even though she had talked herself into letting me stick around, I could tell that, on the one hand, she didn’t want to do the extra work, but on the other, she felt obligated to. She sounded pretty relieved that I just gave her an out.
Of course, she didn’t thank me.
So check it out!