This is a new feature here at NightlyReading where Alejandro will give suggestions of books that he has found. This will include different genres featured each week. I hope you enjoy, please let him know your thoughts by posting a comment or visiting his Goodreads page:
Continuing the cycle of detective novels, this week, the topic is those novels that have been inspired by the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his character, the iconic Sherlock Holmes. That is, the books using Sherlock Holmes but after the death of the original writer. Some of these novels has the approval of the family of Conan Doyle but others have been possible because due the age of the novels, the copyright has expired in several of the original books. These novels not only used Sherlock Holmes in his traditional time, but as a teenager too, even when he retired and training an apprentice, but also characters related to Holmes, such as his nemesis Professor Moriarty and Irene Adler, including creating new characters but linked to the legacy of Sherlock Holmes. In this topic, there are many published books, my intention is to give you some of the most popular and well known options, but I invite you to investigate on your own if you wish.
“Dust and Shadow”
Not the first time nor the last that Jack the Ripper will be faced with Sherlock Holmes. This duel has been done several times in novels and movies, and while Professor Moriarty is considered the great literary nemesis of the famous detective, the possibility of situating Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper has always been irresistible. And the case of Jack the Ripper is not only the most famous unsolved crime in history, but the actual events occurred at the time when the original literary adventures of Sherlock Holmes are set, therefore this combination always will arise from time to time.
In 2009, writer Lindsay Faye, published one of the more recent books taking up the challenge between Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper, whose book has received high marks since. Its full title is “Dust and Shadows: An account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson”. This novel has become one of the best options to read, not only for fans of the topic Jack the Ripper, but for those readers looking for good books about Sherlock Holmes written by different authors to the original creator.
“The House of Silk”
This book published in 2011 by the popular writer Anthony Horowitz, creator of the series “Alex Rider”, ventured into the world of the great detective Sherlock Holmes and not just published a novel that has quickly become popular but it gained the approval by the state of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which is always beneficial to be well received by fans of the original work.
The plot situates to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. James Watson accepting the case of a man who claims that he has been stalked by a fearsome scar-faced man.
“The Young Sherlock Holmes”
Presenting Sherlock Holmes as a teenager is not a new idea since it was done before in an excellent film in 1985, directed by Barry Levinson, with a screenplay by Chris Columbus.
Since then, the curiosity about how could been the life of the formidable detective as a teenager has been a popular topic, and prolific author Andrew Lane, who had previously written novels of “Doctor Who” as well as reference books of “Babylon 5 “and” Torchwood “, in 2010 initiated a series of novels of the Young Sherlock Holmes that has received very good grades and to date has been published 6 novels and 1 short story.
“The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes”
If readers have been captivated by the character of Sherlock Holmes, they have been too by the writer who created it and the man that was the inspiration to create it. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle reported that the creation of the fictional Sherlock Holmes was inspired in Dr. Joseph Bell, who knew about it and was proud about that.
Dr. Joseph Bell, was a professor of forensic medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and even was the only doctor that Queen Victoria allowed to attend her when she ever visited Scotland. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was assistant to Dr. Bell at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and that was when Conan Doyle was amazed by the skills of observation and deduction of Dr. Bell cementing the foundation for creating the detective Sherlock Holmes. Even the American writer Irving Wallace said that Dr. Joseph Bell in non-fiction writings detailing that Dr. Bell helped Scotland Police on real criminal cases.
Based on this, the writer David Pirie was inspired to create the series “The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes” where the main characters aren’t the fictional detective, but employs Dr. Joseph Bell and Arthur Conan Doyle, creating fictional adventures but using the time when both were working in real life. Between 2001 and 2003, Pirie published three novels receiving high ratings.
“Stoker & Holmes”
Even before there have been linked the dreaded Dracula, written by Bram Stoker, with the great detective Sherlock Holmes, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Some writers have books gathering these epic characters. However, the author Colleen Gleason had a different idea. In 2013, she wrote “The Clockwork Scarab” and has been met with such success that there was already talking of a film adaptation, and in October 2014, will be published the second book in the series.
Colleen Gleason conceived creating, Evaline Stoker, Bram Stoker’s sister, and Mina Holmes, niece of Sherlock Holmes. They do not get along with each other, but they must quickly clarify their differences and use their innate abilities, one to hunt monsters, the other, to solve mysteries, to face the case of why young ladies of society are disappearing from London.
“The Baskerville Affair”
And when someone finally achieved success with an idea, others will follow with their own ideas, and Emma Jane Holloway who comes with his own vision of a niece of Sherlock Holmes, Evaline Holmes, and adding a strong “steampunk” atmosphere, creating the series “The Baskerville Affair”, and incredibly in the little time between September and December 2013, she published three novels with over 500 pages each and two short stories.
“Mary Russell series”
Laurie R. King is one of the best-known authors in the field of creating her own series based on the theme of Sherlock Holmes. In 1994, she began her series “Mary Russell” which presents an aged Sherlock Holmes, retired to Sussex Downs, where simply plans to study the behavior of bees. However, the impossible happens, Sherlock meets Mary Russell, a teenager with an intellect, powers of observation and deductive skills that rival his, even they share complex personalities to deal. Holmes decides to accept her as apprentice, and from that moment begins a new partnership focused on creating a successor. Between 1994 and 2012, Laurie R. King has published 12 novels in the series and has already announced that in 2015 will be published the 13th book.
Although the character of Irene Adler appears only once in the original books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in the short story “A Scandal in Bohemia”, since then the readers were captivated by the opera singer who managed to impress the great detective for possessing an intelligence at his level. Since their only meeting, Irene Adler was mentioned in 4 other original stories. Much has been speculated if Holmes loved her, and this was never clarified by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and it only added more mystery to the relationship between the detective and the singer.
Carole Nelson Douglas took advantage of this and in 1990 created her series “Irene Adler” where the character moves to France and she gets involved in various situations which requiring to emulate Sherlock and she becomes a detective herself. Between 1990 and 2012, have been published 12 novels.
It is clear that some characters of Sherlock Holmes become iconic not by the number of appearances but by the impact they cause. Professor Moriarty only appeared in a story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Final Problem” but in that book, Moriarty “kills” Holmes. He instantly became the nemesis of Holmes. Then when the pressure by the public made Conan Doyle agreed to “return to life” the character of Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty is mentioned in the story “The Valley of Fear” but does not actually appear. However, Moriarty already was a popular character among readers.
Author Michael Kurland has written several books using Sherlock Holmes, but he also created his series of “Professor Moriarty ” using him as the main character in the stories, where in various situations, he is involved and / or is forced to solve mysteries using his great intellect rivaled only by Holmes, even at times making a truce and help the great detective. Between 1978 and 2014, he has published six novels in this series.
See you next week!