I’m not only a mystery fan, but I also have a special place in my heart for books based on Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t read the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories, but through the years, I’ve stumbled on the occasional TV productions and always found them enjoyable.
It may have been Laurie King’s Mary Russell stories that got me hooked on all things Sherlock Holmes. The first in the series, “The BeeKeeper’s Apprentice,” came out in 1994. Mary Russell, a 15-year-old girl, literally stumbles across Sherlock Holmes while out walking, and their unlikely relationship becomes the stuff of fifteen novels. I realize as I’m typing this that I haven’t read them all, so it’s time to add a few to my library wish list. I wanted to believe the foreword to the first book, wherein the author explains finding letters in a trunk either between or about Mary Russell and Sherlock. Forgive me; it’s been almost twenty years since I read the book. Suffice it to say, I found the premise intriguing.
“The Sherlockian” is another book I couldn’t put down. It features dedicated Sherlock Holmes fans who get wind of a missing Arthur Conan Doyle diary, one which would explain the final chapter in Sherlock’s life. I found the mystery intriguing and also enjoyed learning about Conan Doyle’s life even though the facts were interwoven with fiction.
Next, I discovered Anthony Horowitz’s 2011 “The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel” through a review in the Wall Street Journal. “For the first time in its one-hundred-and-twenty-five-year history, the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate has authorized a new Sherlock Holmes novel … The Arthur Conan Doyle Estate chose the celebrated, #1 New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz to write ‘The House of Silk’ because of his proven ability to tell a transfixing story and for his passion for all things Holmes.” It lived up to its billing.
Bonnie MacBird’s “Art in the Blood” is another novel written as a continuation of the original series. I may have stumbled across it as an Amazon recommendation. If you decide to give Sherlock a try, this, like “The House of Silk,” is written in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle.
For a lighter Holmes themed mystery, I picked up “Elementary She Read: A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Murder.” The story takes place on Cape Cod where, at 222 Baker Street, of course, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium deals in Holmes paraphernalia, books, and collectibles. This modern day, humorous, murder mystery makes for a fun read.
Writing this column required a bit of research to refresh my memory, and I happily found yet another Holmes story to add to my list, “The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars.” It promises to be a humorous mystery. I like to mix up my reading—a book with a literary bent and way with words and then one with a lighter, witty story. Once again, I have more books on my “To Be Read” list than I’ll ever get to, but I’ll enjoy the pursuit.
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