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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Characters Who Live On: Sherlock Holmes

Lesser Ury, Reader with a Magnifying Glass, 1895.
Posted by Staff

Few characters have made as strong and lasting impression on the general public as has the character of Sherlock Holmes. Intricate plots, interesting characters, and the constant threat of a criminal element lurking behind the scenes captured the imaginations of generations of readers.  When Doyle killed Holmes in one of the novels, the public outcry was huge.  When Doyle died, many mourned the death of Holmes as much as the author.  Since then, many authors have based their characters on Holmes (and Watson) or utilized the settings or characters as jumping off points for their own works.

This past January, it was announced that the Conan Doyle estate had commissioned Anthony Horwitz, author of the young adult Alex Rider novels and TV's Foyle's War series,  to write a new, authorized Sherlock Holmes novel.  In April, the title, The House of Silk, was released by the publisher.  Read more about the eagerly awaited book (due out in November, request it here) in this article by The Guardian

If you are interested in some modern interpretations of Sherlock Holmes try one of the following books or DVD's :

Sherlock, Season One (DVD, 2010) A BBC production from 2010 that will satisfy any Holmes fan.  This 21st century take on a legend works surprisingly well – even traditionalists are impressed.  Set in current day London with all the technological trappings at Holmes’ disposal, and his war-vet sidekick Watson, we are drawn in by the fast pace and the absorbing plots.  Well done!

Murder Rooms: the dark beginnings of Sherlock Holmes  (DVD, 2006)  In real life, when Arthur Conan Doyle was a young man, he formed a relationship with a noted forensic scientist Dr. Jospeh Bell.  Under his tutelage, Doyle’s real life experiences in late 19th century Edinburgh fueled his imagination and later his pen.  Find out how Sherlock Holmes was born in this well done, fictionalized mystery series. 

Death Cloud (Young Sherlock) by Andrew Lane  It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent (Amazon review).

The Sherlockian by  Graham Moore  The plot of this novel flips back and forth between our century and the last, following Arthur Conan Doyle and his desire to kill off Holmes, and a modern Holmes devotee attempting to solve a murder.  Will Doyle finally kill off his famous character?  What do the Baker Street Irregulars (a modern group of Sherlock fans and historians) do when a real-life murder creates havoc at their annual conference?  What would Holmes do?  As we follow along between the two stories, the plot thickens.

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