Happy Birthday, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

Though far and away most famous for his Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (May 22, 1859-July 7, 1930) wrote numerous books in a variety of genres including historical, supernatural, and speculative fiction, in addition to nonfiction.   Delve into the Holmes universe with one of these many spin-offs.

Donald Thomas has a five book series of Holmes stories.  Start with The Secret Cases of Sherlock HolmesThe Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr, authorized by Doyle’s estate, finds Holmes on the trail of a murderer whose connections may run all the way up the social ladder to the royal family.  Laurie R. King has a series featuring Mary Russell, a young woman who becomes the protégé of a retired Sherlock Holmes.  Start with The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.  Try something really different with Steve Hockensmith’s books.  In the first, Holmes on the Range, two 1893 cowboys, Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer, inspired by their hero, master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, put their detecting skills to use  uncovering the truth about the murder of a ranch hand.

Young mystery fans should try Nancy Springer’s Enola Holmes series, following the exploits of Sherlock’s much younger sister.  The first is The Case of the Missing Marquess.  The Sherlock Files by Tracy Barrett are another option.  The first of this series is The 100-Year-Old Secret, in which Xena and Xander Holmes, an American brother and sister living in London for a year, discover that Sherlock Holmes was their great-great-great grandfather.  Upon receiving his unsolved casebook, they attempt to solve the case of a famous missing painting.

How about a movie?  Who’s your favorite Holmes?  Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, or Robert Downey Jr.?  New to the library is Sherlock, a recent BBC series and a contemporary take on Doyle’s stories.  Staring Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley, Without a Clue, is a comedy in which Dr. John Watson is the true genius behind drunken Sherlock Holmes.  Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes is a film about a young Doyle and his real-life mentor, the noted forensic scientist, Dr. Joseph Bell, as they unite to solve murders in Victorian Scotland.

And if you really want to be thorough, how about Sherlock Holmes in space?  Check out the second and sixth seasons of Star Trek, The Next Generation, and watch the “Elementary, Dear Data” and “Ship in a Bottle” episodes to see Moriarty wreak havoc against Data as Holmes and La Forge as Watson.


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