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I have been a huge Sherlock Holmes fan since I was young. I loved the original stories and any story that was based on Holmes and company, including The Great Mouse Detective, which was my favorite Disney movie as a child. Today, in honor of Sherlock’s birthday, I hope to once again share a bit of that enthusiasm with you, through works that are perfect for those who love Holmes and his friends and nemeses.
Since Sherlock’s debut, his story has been subject to many adaptations, ranging from books that fill in the gaps between the original stories to TV shows such as the BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’ Elementary. The literary world continues to offer new adaptations all the time, including many great young adult examples. If you want to see Sherlock, John, Mycroft, and Moriarty in completely new ways, you should track down these books right away.
Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty – This book explores Sherlock and Moriarty’s lives as teens, though in this case Moriarty is a girl named James “Mori” Moriarty. Shortly after they meet, Lock and Mori are thrown together when a dead body is found in London’s Regent’s Park near their homes. This modern take on the Holmes mythology brings these classic characters to life in a whole new way while tackling issues of friendship, family, and trust.
Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black by Karl Bollers, Rick Leonardi, and Larry Stroman – This volume collects the first story arc in a comic series that reimagines Sherlock and John as African Americans living and working in Harlem in modern-day New York City. The story updates many of the features of Doyle’s original works while maintaining the spirit and style that made those stories so popular. This more Watson-focused work was nominated for an Eisner-award and is a must-read for fans of comics and Sherlock alike.
Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse – Sherlock himself might not like the idea of a story focused on Mycroft Holmes. But, if you have always wanted to know a bit more about Sherlock’s big brother, you might want to check out this new book that sees a young Mycroft venturing off to Trinidad to solve a mystery. This book will give you a new way of looking at Mycroft and his influence on Sherlock.
A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – This book, which will be published later this year, will definitely join my to-be-read list as soon as it is available! The story follows the great-great-great-grandchildren of Watson and Holmes as they come together to solve the mystery surrounding a classmate’s death. The first in a planned trilogy, this is definitely one that all Sherlock fans will want to check out.
In addition to all of the books that play with the characters and settings made famous by the original Sherlock Holmes stories, there are many other stories that are clearly influenced by the famous detective and his adventures. If you want to branch out a bit from Sherlock’s friends and family, while still staying within this style, these books will be sure to please.
Grandville by Bryan Talbot – This graphic novel and the others in the series may not actually retell the Sherlock Holmes’ stories, but they do capture much of the spirit of those tales. Set in an anthropomorphic and steampunk-influenced world that is run by animals, the series follows a Detective Inspector in Scotland Yard as he solves mysteries. And, by the way, the DI is a badger. The worldbuilding and artwork in this series will keep you turning pages as will the central mystery of this initial volume.
Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens – This first book in the Wells and Wong series follows two girls at a UK boarding school in the 1930’s. When a teacher dies (and the body then disappears), Daisy Wells finally has an opportunity to be the Sherlock Holmes that she has always known that she could be. Readers are sure to love this setting and the twist it puts on the typical mystery story.
Jackaby by William Ritter – This book combines a detail-oriented investigator with supernatural elements to offer a fresh take on a serial killer investigation, this time set in 1890’s New England. This book made the 2015 YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults list and it is a must read for historical mystery fans.
I hope this post helps you to find the perfect book to celebrate Sherlock Holmes’ birthday! Let me know in the comments if I have missed any of your favorites!
— Carli Spina, currently reading All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen