Elementary, My Dear: Why We Love Sherlock Holmes

Published Thursday, May 30, 2019

May is Mystery Month, which is the perfect time to celebrate one of literature's most famous detectives - Sherlock Holmes. Long time fans of the character, Allie and Tirzah take a moment to reflect on why they enjoy Sherlock Holmes:

We discovered and began sharing our mutual love on the subject of Sherlock Holmes whenever the 1940's black-and-white Basil Rathbone films were brought up in a discussion. Truly considered classics, the Rathbone movies exude a certain charm and timelessness, and continue to fuel the imagination and passion for the fictional detective, whose story and adventures are still being re-told and re-imagined in the modern day.

1. What was the first incarnation (and episode/movie/story) that enthralled you with Sherlock Holmes, or was it something you discovered yourself?

Allie: For me, before I really knew it was a Sherlock Holmes adaptation, it was The Great Mouse Detective (by Disney). I really though it was funny (and also terrifying -- that bat with the peg leg!), with the most memorable part being the introduction of Holmes and Watson, with Holmes shooting a cushion Watson is holding.

Tirzah: Like Allie, I also watched The Great Mouse Detective, but my very first introduction to Sherlock Holmes was the 1939-1946 movies starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. I have fond memories watching them as a kid with my family and we continue to watch them whenever the mood for thrills and chills hits us. In addition to the movies, my family and I would sometimes listen to the radio shows on CD and we had children's version of the books in our home library.

2. What has kept you interested in Holmes throughout the years?

Allie: I really loved the emphasis on thinking, especially thinking for oneself, using only one's wits and abilities. Holmes (a lot like Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series) is very resourceful, self-reliant, intelligent, and loyal to his friends; these are all characteristics I admire in both stories and characters. I also think that Sherlock's rigor in building himself physically as well as mentally through training, hard work, and adventures, is something that I admire and have always imagined (and hoped!) to see myself doing.

Tirzah: Stories with strong character camaraderie always appeal to me; I think Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are one of the most famous literary duos known for their friendship and teamwork. Whether it’s reading, listening, or watching Sherlock Holmes mysteries, I enjoy how they work together to solve crime and help people.

Sherlock Holmes Recommendations

The following are our recommendations, for both new and returning connoisseurs of Sherlock Holmes. Although not all books include details into each item on this list, each item is readily available through our library and the system.

Allie's Adult Recommendations

Non-Fiction Books

The Authentic World of Sherlock Holmes : An Evocative Tour of Conan Doyle's Victorian London by Charles Vinney

In my opinion, this is one of the most-detailed, insightful, non-fiction books covering Sherlock Holmes. I discovered this gem in the stacks. This book included real photographs from the Victorian era, and specifically showcases some of the real locations that were mentioned in Doyle's stories covering Sherlock's adventures.

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The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley

Another overlooked book, this book details the history of the fascination with murder in England-specific English mystery stories, including Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and why it is still such a popular topic to this day.

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The Sherlock Holmes School of Self-Defence : The Manly Art of Bartitsu as Used Against Professor Moriarty by E.W. Barton-Wright

An interesting, slim book that details the martial art that was mentioned (and used) by Sherlock in the short stories.

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Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes by Michael Sims

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova

Fiction Books

Art in the Blood by Bonnie Macbird

The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz

Moriarty: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz


How Sherlock Changed the World

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Tirzah's Youth Recommendations

Book & DVD Adaptations

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Our collection offers some books from the following series. The grade levels listed serve as a guide and the books are not strictly limited to those grade levels. We also offer Disney's The Great Mouse Detective on DVD.

Enola Holmes Series by Nancy Springer (Grades 3-5)

The Sherlock Files by Tracy Barrett (Grades 3-5)

Young Sherlock Holmes Series by Andy Lane (Grades 6-9)

The Great Mouse Detective

Abridged Books

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While none of the following abridged versions are in our collection, they can be requested from other system libraries. The grade levels listed serve as a guide and the books are not strictly limited to those grade levels.

Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of the Baskervilles: A BabyLit Sounds Primer by Jennifer Adams (Infant-Toddler)

Classic Starts Series (Grades 2-4)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes edited by Chris Sasaki

Great Illustrated Classics Series (Grades 4-8)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Hound of Baskervilles

About the Authors

Allie has been a Page in the Adult Library at EPL since 2017. An avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction, some of her favorite categories include poetry, mystery, and self-help books.

Tirzah is the Youth Services Assistant and a Circulation Clerk. She enjoys helping to plan and assist with our fun youth events and is always happy to help patrons find their next great read.