If you’re reading this…

…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?


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8 responses to “If you’re reading this…

  1. Brett

    Loved the review! As a neophyte in the Sherlockian realm, I found your review insightful. It makes me want to start reading pastiche. Any plan to review graphic novels?

  2. Thanks for the comment! Oh, yes, I definitely want to review graphic novels–there are quite a lot of them out there, and I know quite a few people who rate them very highly. It may take time to get to them, though, because I don’t really have a background in who’s who, and I have no art expertise whatsoever.

  3. This is exciting! I don’t read very much pastiche myself, and I have probably only read a dozen books or so. Maybe you can change that for me with your reviews. Maybe you can give me hope that there is good pastiche out there that is true to the original Watsonian voice and get my eyes back on the page.
    Good luck with this. I will stop by often.

    • Thanks so much, Vincent! I am a very flexible reader when it comes to pastiche. If someone is fairly respectful to the canon, a decent writer, and can sell the premise, I’ll appreciate the book. But I have learned that there are people who cannot abide, say, Holmesian hook-ups, or really want the Watson voice. So I plan to let those readers know if they’ll find what they’re looking for (or hoping to avoid). Also–thanks for the link! Wanna know more about canon chronology, folks? Check out Vincent’s site!

  4. Wow! You continue to amaze me! What a wonderful first review, although you’ve given my reformed reading list yet another addition, which may need to neglect of various personal commitments. Nonetheless, thanks for the insight.

  5. Janet

    What is a “pastiche”?

    • Hey, Janet! “Pastiche” is a literary term which refers to work in which the writer tries to write in the style of another author–in this case, Arthur Conan Doyle. So technically, only people who write using Watson’s or Holmes’ voice are writing pastiche. Otherwise, it’s parody, or simply using the same characters. I’m using the term very broadly. The Sherlock Holmes stories were so popular that they attracted imitations and parodies while Doyle was still writing them, and one determined blogger has listed well over 9,000 in existence…so I can blog on this stuff for, well, ever!