"The Guinness Book of World Records" recently announced that Sherlock Holmes is the most portrayed literary human character on film and television, with 254 appearances. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Holmes in "Sherlock", which recently aired on PBS's "Masterpiece." Cumberbatch's Holmes is a 21st-century intellectually brilliant but socially awkward consulting detective. Holmes' misanthropic tendencies are tempered by his association with the humane Dr. John Watson, played by Martin Freeman. Watson is also a wounded veteran of a war in Afghanistan, as was the original Dr. Watson.
The 21st century Sherlock uses modern technology and cutting edge forensics to solve crimes. However, his uncanny attention to the smallest detail remains the core of his investigative method.
In contrast to the modern "Sherlock", you have Robert Downey Jr. playing a steampunk version of Holmes. The cerebral detective and his stalwart companion become action heroes in the most recent series of films. In these, the duo trade insults and witty repartee while dodging bullets, explosions and mechanical menaces designed for major mayhem. Yet once again it is Holmes's superb brain which is his most effective weapon in dealing with Professor Moriarty and his minions.
Though the second season of "Sherlock" has ended, there are many other ways to indulge your Sherlock obsession, all found at the Library. The Library owns most of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic Sherlock Holmes stories. Many other authors have tried their hand at writing Sherlock Holmes fiction. Some of the most successful Holmes books are:
“The Final Solution: A Story of Detection” by Michael Chabon
In this WWII-era story, a retired Holmes is intent on bee-keeping until a mysterious boy wanders into town. The intelligent, mute boy owns a parrot who speaks cryptic numbers in German. When the parrot is stolen, local cops turn to Holmes for help in solving the case.
“The House of Silk” by Anthony Horowitz
It is 1890. A year after Holmes's death, Watson--now in a retirement home--narrates a tale of Sherlockian detection that could tear apart the very fabric of society. The story opens with a train robbery in Boston, and moves to the innocuous setting of Wimbledon.
“The Sherlockian” by Graham Moore
When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, he never imagines he's about to be thrust into the hunt for Arthur Conan Doyle's missing diary. But after a Doylean scholar is murdered, it is Harold who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.
“Sherlock Holmes in America” edited by Martin H. Greenberg
From the bustling neighborhoods of New York City and Washington, D.C., to sunny yet sinister cities like San Francisco on the West Coast, the world's best-loved British sleuth faces some of the most cunning criminals America has to offer. This anthology includes never-before-published crime and mystery stories by bestselling American writers.
“Good Night, Mr. Holmes” by Carole Nelson Douglas
First of the Irene Adler series. Adler was one of the few characters to outwit Holmes, who always referred to her as "The Woman."
“The Beekeeper’s Apprentice” by Laurie R. King
In 1915, Holmes is quietly studying honeybees when a young woman literally stumbles into him on the Sussex Downs. Under his reluctant tutelage, Russell proves a deft protégée and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. Full of brilliant deductions, disguises, and dangers, this first book of the Mary Russell--Sherlock Holmes mysteries is "wonderfully original and entertaining . . . absorbing from beginning to end." (Booklist)
Films and television
The Library owns many of the classic black and white Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone. Actor Jeremy Brett took on the role in 1984 and starred in 41 episodes of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” Many fans argue that Brett’s portrayal of Holmes comes closest to the character as originally written and may never be surpassed.
In addition to the classic Basil Rathbone films and the Jeremy Brett television series, here are some different adaptations of Sherlock Holmes:
“The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother” starring Gene Wilder
Sigerson Holmes, brother of Sherlock, plays a super-detective to foil a plot against Queen Victoria.
“Murder by Decree” starring Christopher Plummer
Sherlock Holmes investigates the murders committed by Jack the Ripper and discovers a conspiracy to protect the killer.
“The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” directed by Billy Wilder
Holmes travels to Scotland to help a woman search for her missing husband.
“Young Sherlock Holmes” directed by Barry Levinson
When assorted people start having inexplicable delusions that lead to their deaths, a teenage Sherlock Holmes investigates.
“Without A Clue” starring Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine
A drunken Sherlock Holmes is just a cover for the real detective—Dr. Watson.
“Sherlock Holmes’ London: the Investigation”
A tour of London City sites connected to the Holmes legendarium.
If you type in "Holmes, Sherlock" in the library catalog, you will find 15 different subject headings and over 150 items listed, from books to films.
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