Summer is about half over (or has it actually started, I couldn’t tell) , and hopefully you are filling up your ballots for the “Dinner and a Murder” contest. Since this year’s theme involves murder and detection, I would be remiss not to include one of the most famous and one of my favorite detectives, Sherlock Holmes. Holmes first appeared in 1887, the creation of author Arthur Conan Doyle, and became known for his intellectual prowess, deductive reasoning and keen observations.
As seen through the eyes of his faithful companion and chronicler, Dr. Watson; Holmes is fascinating character, dark, driven, rude and obsessive. The original stories were written at a time when pulp detective fiction held only paper thin characters created to solve a puzzle; Conan Doyle’s mysteries are challenging and intricate but the greatest mystery is really Holmes himself. A great way to dip into the world of Holmes, Watson, and of course, the evil Moriarty is “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, which consists of a collection of 12 early Holmes stories written by Conan Doyle.
For those who love Holmes already or who are looking for further visits to the world of 221B Baker Street, a number of authors have written their own variations on the legend that is Sherlock. Mystery author Laurie R. King re-enters this world by pairing a retired Holmes with a young woman named Mary Russell who is Holmes detecting match. As the series develops, so does the relationship between Mary and Holmes. Set during the first World War and into the 1920’s, the series softens and humanizes Sherlock, while still showing the qualities that made him the master detective. Consisting of nine novels so far, the first is “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice”. Her most recent novel is “The Language of Bees”.
Over 100 years after his creation, the fascination for Holmes isn’t fading; there is a big screen adaption coming to theatres in the fall, a number of novels about Watson, Moriarty, Holmes’ only love Irene Adler, the Baker Street Irregulars and even Conan Doyle himself, and every day the people of the realty company that resides in Sherlock’s fictional address in London recieve requests from all over the world from people looking for help from their favourite “consulting detective”.