Friday, July 6, 2012

Read Alike: Sherlock Holmes

Quite possibly the most famous detective who never lived, after 125 years Sherlock Holmes remains incredibly popular. The creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he first appeared in A Study in Scarlet in 1887, and in the decades since he's been adapted and reimagined for stage, movies, televisions, adventures as a child, in the Americas, or in the modern day. Sherlock Holmes has inspired generations of mystery fans.

At Carnegie-Stout we have all of the original stories, as well as several of the works inspired by the great detective. Read on for a selection of options available in our collection.

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
Mr. Horowitz is primarily an author of fast-paced adventure titles for tweens and teens, most notably the Alex Rider series of spy novels. His books mix suspenseful mysteries with fantastic elements and moments of humor. In addition to his novels, Mr. Horowitz has written for television, and is the creator of both Foyle's War and the Midsomer Murders series. He worked with the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write the first authorized continuation of the Sherlock Holmes series, The House of Silk. The story is narrated by Dr. Watson from a retirement home, a year after Holmes' death.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
Ms. King challenges the expected roles for women in her mystery series inspired by the work of Sir Conan Doyle. While Kate Martinelli is a modern day San Francisco homicide detective, lesbian, and fan of Mr. Holmes, Mary Russell lives in his world. The intelligent, unconventional orphaned heiress Mary Russell’s life takes an unexpected turn when she makes the acquaintance of the retired beekeeper, Sherlock Holmes. Mary Russell's series starts with The Beekeeper's Apprentice, and is filled with details both historical and Holmesian. Kate Martinelli's series starts with A Grave Talent.

The Final Solution by Michael Chabon
Mr. Chabon has written a wide range of titles over his literary career that bend the rules of genre while maintaining literary sensibility. His books often have a slower pace with a focus on the characters, and an exploration of Judaism. Mr. Chabon often mixes humor into his stories, whether dark or light-hearted. The retired sleuth of The Final Solution is never stated to be the great Sherlock Holmes, but the details make his identity clear. In 1944, a young, mute refugee from Nazi Germany comes to a rural Sussex village with a parrot, murder and intrigue follow.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Mr. Haddon has written everything from picture books to poetry, and his known for his interesting characters and humorous observations of everyday life. His first book for adults, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, proved to be a huge success, and while not a story of Sherlock Holmes, readers will see his influence. Christopher is 15, gifted in math, autistic, and an admirer of Mr. Holmes. When he discovers his neighbor's murdered dog and is accused of the crime, Christopher sets out to solve the case.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to authors who've tried their hand the sleuth of 221B Baker Street.  The folks of Wikipedia have put together a list of authors with Holmesian adaptations that would fill several bookshelves.

When it comes to film and movie, every fan has their favorite Holmes, whether a classic like Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett, or a modern take like Robert Downey Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch. CBS has plans to air a remake this fall, that will be set in modern day New York City and have Lucy Liu taking on the role of Dr. Watson.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection, starring Basil Rathbone
Sherlock Holmes, portrayed by Jeremy Brett
Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch
Sherlock Holmes, featuring Robert Downey Jr.
House, M.D., with Hugh Laurie in a role inspired by Mr. Holmes

And if you're interested in reading more about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or the history and science behind Sherlock Holmes, Carnegie-Stout has some reading options in our non-fiction collection.

Local author, David L. Hammer, has written extensively on Sherlock Holmes. A particularly fun title is A Dangerous Game: being a travel guide to the Europe of Sherlock Holmes (914.04), complete with interesting facts and photographs.

Other nonfiction titles include:
The Devil and Sherlock Holmes by David Grann (081 GRA)
The Science of Sherlock Holmes by E.J. Wagner (363.25 WAG)
Conan Doyle Detective by Peter Costello (823.8 DOY)
Sherlock Holmes was Wrong by Pierre Bayard (823.8 DOY)

Please stop by the Recommendations Desk on the first floor, check out NoveList Plus on the library's website, or visit W. 11th & Bluff next week for more reading suggestions. Or submit a Personal Recommendations request, and we'll create a reading list just for you!


  1. Hi you fabulous librarians!

    I read your blog at work, but it's in my personal life that I wanted to thank you and recognize you.

    I've nominated your blog for the Illuminating Blogger Award found here:

    You can see what I wrote about you on my blog:

    Thanks for your continued good reading and reading recommendations!


  2. Thank you for your kind words Diane! We're very glad you enjoy our blog. Let us know if there's ever a particular author you'd like to see reading suggestions for!