by Ron, Everett Public Library staff
He is one of the most recognizable names in literature. Hundreds of pastiches by copious authors have been written about his character. Movie and TV series abound. Parodies aimed at all ages proliferate. And a multitude of quotes which never issued from his fictional lips are attributed to this British detective, Sherlock Holmes.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are undoubtedly brilliant, introducing (or at least popularizing) a new genre, a new style of detection. The hero is not a particularly likable or sympathetic chap, but his skills are remarkable. It’s no wonder that he has maintained such a high level of acclaim for more than a century.
Sherlock Holmes originally appeared in 4 novels and fifty-six short stories set between 1880 and 1914. His character apparently died in a story written in 1893 (but set in 1891), but fan outcry led to his resurrection in 1901 (in a story set in 1894).
Perhaps it is comforting to know that Sherlock’s adventures did not end with the death of Conan Doyle. Numerous authors, many alive today, have written stories about Holmes’s exploits during the same period that Conan Doyle chronicled.
(The Italian Secretary is also available as an AudioEBook)
Other authors have dared to speculate on Holmes’s life after his apparent retirement.
The Final Solution by Michael Chabon
A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin
(A Slight Trick of the Mind is also available as a book on CD)
In some cases, Holmes has even been thrown into the present, through a series of mysterious occurrences, of course.
One can also find series aimed at young adults featuring Sherlock as a teenager.
Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock
One series, which focuses on the young boys who make up the Baker Street Irregulars, is aimed at younger readers.
Another format aimed at young adults and juveniles is graphic novelizations of Conan Doyle’s stories.
A Study in Scarlet by Ian Edgington
Sherlock Holmes and a Scandal in Bohemia by Murray Shaw
(These juvenile books include explanations of Holmes’s deductive reasoning and the clues that helped him arrive at a solution)
Perhaps the biggest buzz currently centered around the famous detective is the BBC series Sherlock. This take on Holmes has him living in present-day London, not a man somehow removed from Victorian times but simply a brilliant investigator born near the close of the 20th century. This ingenious show delivers unto us a Holmes who has all of the 21st century’s miraculous technology at his fingertips. The stories are based in the Conan Doyle canon, but include abundant updating and fast-paced dering-do.
And when you finish this superlative series, be sure to look into some of the other big and small screen depictions of England’s most brilliant detective.
And if that’s not enough to keep you busy, there’s always Agatha Christie …