Sherlock Holmes Beyond the Canon
If you really love Sherlock Holmes then sometimes the fifty-six stories and four novels by Arthur Conan Doyle just don’t seem like enough. Once you start looking beyond the canon, though, you’re sure to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Holmes related fiction. This list of the best available here at the Ford should give you a little direction:
- The Return of Moriarty by John Gardner: The focus here is on the nefarious Professor Moriarty and his attempt to reclaim his place at the top of the criminal hierarchy after his supposed death at the Reichenbach Falls. Holmes is only a minor character in this first novel in the series, but the second book, The Revenge of Moriarty, features the detective more prominently.
- The Seven Percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer: Meyer’s book has often been called one of the best Holmes stories not written by Conan Doyle. It purports to be one of Watson’s lost manuscripts that follows a collaboration between Holmes and Sigmund Freud. The mystery is good but not the heart of the novel. You’ll mainly want to read for Meyer’s interesting take on Holmes’ personal history.
- The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King: This is the first in King’s long running series about Mary Russell, a somewhat troubled young adult who is taken under the wing of a retired Sherlock Holmes. They solve crimes together and develop a remarkable relationship. The 12th book in the series is set to appear in September 2012, but Holmes figures most prominently in the early novels.
- A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin: A nonagenarian Holmes looks back on his life, completing an account of one of his old cases and revealing a number of fascinating character details we missed in Watson’s stories. Cullin’s book might be a bit short on mystery, but is certainly one of the best post Conan Doyle character studies of the great detective.
- The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr: In Conan Doyle’s stories Holmes’ run-ins with the supernatural were rare and inevitably an exercise in investigative debunking, as in “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire” and The Hound of the Baskervilles. But Caleb Carr’s specialty is supernatural suspense, and he has no qualms with having Holmes and Watson chasing monsters around Scotland in order to protect none other than Queen Victoria.
List by Matthew