I had to miss out last week because I was ill, but I’m still able to do today’s Top Ten Tuesday from the Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is Top Ten Books If You Like X tv show/movie/comic/play etc. (basically any sort of other entertainment). The variable I’m going to pick is Sherlock Holmes.
The BBC show Sherlock is fairly popular now as a new adaptation of everyone’s favorite literary detective. Sherlock Holmes first appeared in print in 1887 with the publication of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel A Study in Scarlet. Doyle then went on to write 56 short stories and three more novels featuring the sleuth and his pal Dr. John Watson, but they’ve also appeared in numerous other formats including radio and television shows as well as books and short written by fans of the series. There’s always some new adaptation or re-imagining of the series and I, as a life-long Sherlock Holmes fan, have consumed the vast majority of them. So check under the cut for my recommendations for those of you who want more Holmes in their lives.
Some of you may recognize this name from Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective, however, it started as a series of children’s books. Basil of Baker Street is the reason I love Sherlock Holmes so much today. If it weren’t for this mouse, I wouldn’t have looked into the stories they were based on and I’d have missed out on the hours I’ve spent being entertained by books and movies depicting Sherlock Holmes.
This series is definitely aimed at a very young audience, but I got great enjoyment out of reading the series as a young adult. If you want to consume any and everything Holmes like I did, this is definitely a good, quick series to start with.
2. Victorian Undead by: Ian Edgington
This one is definitely not for the faint of heart or those of you with queasy stomachs. Victorian Undead (better known by it’s subtitle: Sherlock Holmes vs. Zombies) is a comic that gives you exactly what it says on the cover. Zombies have attacked London and it’s up to Holmes and Watson to stop them.
This is really more of an action comic than a mystery, although there’s plenty of that to go around. It’s a fun re-imagining of the crime-solving duo as monster hunters tasked with keeping Victorian England safe from the undead. All six issues have been compiled into a hardback collection, as has the sequel comic Victorian Undead II: Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula. These books aren’t really the pinnacle of great literature, but they’re so enjoyable, so I’ve included them on the list.
3. Death Cloud by: Andrew Lane
I haven’t actually read this book yet (it’s on the list, though, so watch for a Book Spotlight! on it), but it seems too up my alley to leave it off the list. Death Cloud is the first book of a series of books chronicling the teenage life of Sherlock Holmes. So far, there are six books published, but there could be up to nine in total.
This book is the story of 14 year old Sherlock Holmes’ first case: a double murder related to an illusive black cloud. The story is a mix of adventure and intellect (a feature of the original Sherlock Holmes stories) updated and adapted to the tastes of a modern audience. From what I’ve read about this series, the author does a wonderful job of mixing actual historical events (the second novel prominently features John Wilkes Booth and his assassination of Abraham Lincoln) and details taken from Doyle’s original text. I’m very excited to begin reading this series and I hope it lives up to all I’ve heard about it.
They tried to make a movie for this series in the early 2000s, but it didn’t do very well. It wasn’t a very good film, but fortunately, this comic is much, much better. In this story, all famous literary stories are true. Over the years, the most famous characters from popular stories have grouped together to form a League dedicated to keeping order and fighting off monsters. It’s a mysterious organization, though, with members of the League themselves not knowing exactly what or who they are fighting.
Sherlock Holmes and his brother Mycroft appear in this comic, although they are not central members of the League themselves. It is interesting to see how Moore meshes what seems like all of Victorian literature together, including the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The comic can get a little weird and dense at times as it was meant for a much older audience, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
This is a story that takes place after the end of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original series. The main character of this novel is a fifteen year old girl named Mary Russell who is visiting her family in the countryside where she accidentally meets Sherlock Holmes. The detective is now retired and keeping bees. The two form an unlikely friendship with Holmes teaching Mary his methods of deduction and crime-solving. This, of course, comes in handy as a plot quickly unfolds leaving the two of them right in the middle of it all.
This is the first in an on-going series of 12 books. This series is hit-or-miss with a lot of Sherlock Holmes fans, but it’s definitely worth reading so you can form an opinion on your own.
I read this book forever ago when I was in middle school. It’s long been out of print, but it’s one of my favorites to this day. I’d highly recommend it to any young folks who are interested in Sherlock Holmes, but who might not be mature enough to comprehend the older Sherlock Holmes stories.
In Doyle’s original stories, Holmes has a network of street urchins and poor youths who spy for him called The Baker Street Irregulars. Because they were not considered important in Victorian England, these children were basically invisible and could blend in easily to crowds, which made them perfect for collecting information for the detective. In this story, the Irregulars are the main characters with Sherlock Holmes hovering around in the background unlike in the original stories where the Irregulars were periphery to Holmes’ spotlight.
7. The Case of the Missing Marquess by: Nancy Springer
This book is another one aimed at younger readers. It tells the story of Enola Holmes, younger sister of Mycroft and Sherlock who, like her brothers, has a penchant for solving mysteries. However, her brothers have other plans for her and wish to ship her off to a boarding school where she can learn to be a proper lady instead of one who runs around like they do. And when their mother suddenly goes missing, Enola has even more of a reason not to want to listen to her brothers, so she runs away to London to solve the case.
I wish this book had been around when I was younger. Enola isn’t a part of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, but I’m glad she exists in these books. She serves as a way for girl readers to connect with the characters in a way that they might not have before. She would have been such a role model for me when I was growing up. The only thing I can do now is recommend it to people so that they might be able to look up to her when I couldn’t.
Yes, a Batman story! People forget that Batman is a detective first and foremost. This story is set in an alternate universe where Batman took place in the Victorian Era. Bruce Wayne has just returned from Europe where he was trained in detective work and cryptology by none other than Sherlock Holmes himself. Weird things start to happen which leads Bruce to the realization that Jack the Ripper has come to Gotham to continue the work he’d started in London mere months before. It’s a race against the clock as Bruce becomes the Batman in order to help save the lives of the innocent people of Gotham.
I love, love, LOVE this comic. It was co-written by one of my favorite comic authors to date (Mike Mignola) and it’s such a great re-imagining of Batman. He’s dark and brooding so he fits in perfectly with the dark, seedy Victorian era of crime. Sherlock Holmes is barely in this, but I thought I’d still include it because Batman learned from the greatest.
This is probably the weirdest book I’ve got on this list. It’s fictional mystery book featuring real, historical literary figures. Oscar Wilde was a famous writer and poet of the Victorian Age who was known for his eccentricities and flamboyant personality. He was friends with a number of other writers of his age, including the author of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In these stories, Wilde and Doyle serve as a bizarro version of Holmes and Watson as they flit around Victorian England trying to solve murders.
Sherlock Holmes is mentioned only in passing as part of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work, but his methods are definitely used by Oscar Wilde and many of his associates. I was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining and fun this book was, and it wasn’t just because I am a huge Victorian Literature geek. If you’re looking for something similar to Sherlock Holmes, but vastly different,t hen you’ll definitely want to check out this book. It’s also the first in a series of six Oscar Wilde mystery books.
Of course my list wouldn’t be complete without this book. No self-respecting Sherlock Holmes fan should be without it. It’s exactly what it purports to be: a handbook on how to use the famous detective’s methods for solving mysteries in your every day life. It doesn’t go quite as much into detail as something written by Sherlock Holmes would be (for instance, the chapter on cigarette ash is not nearly as long as you would think it would be), but it’s just enough for beginners like us.
It’s a quick read and something you can consult again and again for fun. Or, if you should happen to find yourself in the middle of an unsolvable murder, you can utilize your skills just as well there.
(Although I’m not sure what you’re doing in the middle of a situation like that! Get out of there, it’s dangerous!)