…it’s January 6, 2012 and, going by Baring-Gould’s chronology, Sherlock Holmes’ 158th birthday. He’s doing very well for such a great age. In fact, as many writers and fans have observed, it’s a wonderful time to be a Sherlockian. Although they never really go out of style, the boys of Baker Street are experiencing a tremendous resurgence in popularity–not just on the big screen, but the small as well, with Moffatt and Gattis’ incredible modern reimagination, “Sherlock.” Even better, to my mind, is the tremendous amount of new pastiche, Holmesian fiction, non-fiction work, and even fanfic that we now have to choose from. Add this new work to a 100+ years’ worth of Sherlockian writing, and we find ourselves facing the world’s largest (albeit most wonderful) TBR pile–and the reason for this blog.
Unlike many of you, I am fairly new to the Holmes obsession. Before last year, I’d read a few stories, watched a season of the Granada series, and read one pastiche (as well as Basil and the Pygmy Cats, purchased at the school book fair when most of your parents were in diapers). I did try to read SIGN when I was in 4th grade (another book fair purchase), but was so disturbed by the mention of cocaine that I put it down immediately and never opened it again (yes, I know, but I was a sensitive child). Finally, last year, after a particularly intense thriller series binge, I was hunting about for something to match that level of excitement, and remembered how much I had loved Edward B. Hanna’s The Whitechapel Horrors, back when it came out in 1992. Thanks to the miracle of Kindle, I had it in seconds, and devoured it in days. Amazon then helpfully informed me that readers who had ordered Whitechapel had also purchased Dust and Shadow, by Lyndsay Faye. All I had to do was click to follow the crowd, so I did–and when I came up for air a couple of days later, I headed straight for the Canon.
I’ve never looked back.
I don’t suppose I’ll ever have to; there may well be more Sherlock Holmes material out there than one can read in two lifetimes, let alone the one we actually have. Still, I’m gonna try to read it all, and by posting reviews of each and every work, I hope to help you sort through the pile to find the books and stories you’re most likely to enjoy.
Here’s what you can expect:
–I’ll read and review anything: traditional, graphic novels, e-pub, self-pub, even fan fiction, if I run across something truly wonderful. I will not, however, review material that is strictly erotic in nature. You’re on your own for that!
–I am not going to completely trash a book. In the past year, I have read two books that left me, well, dumbfounded–and not in a good way. But as an aspiring writer myself, I understand how much effort and emotion go into creating a fictional world, and I really can’t bring myself to savage someone’s dream. That being said, I have an obligation to you, the reader, and you will be able to tell whether or not this is a book on which you’ll want to spend your valuable time and money.
–Occasionally, I’ll add some reviews of Holmes-related material. There are so many fictional series that are, in their essence, homages to Conan Doyle’s creation, and it’s fun to explore their similarities and differences. Other books serve to expand our knowledge of Holmes’ era and thereby contribute to our appreciation of the Canon. When I run across a particularly good one, I’ll share it with you.
–I hardly expect everyone to agree with my opinions; hence, the comments section. Feel free to offer your views, contribute your expertise–and to disagree. I just ask that you play nicely. I’ll moderate for language and comments that can be construed as trolling or flames, but other than that, disagreements and thoughtful, spirited discussion is most definitely welcome.
That’s quite enough intro, don’t you think? Now–why don’t we head over to Cox and Co. and see what the tin dispatch box has waiting?