I am going to deviate from the norm of Reg Rom for a minute or two. The Sherlock craze has been overwhelming, stoking my long held love of the Victorian “consulting detective.” From the steampunk pugilist vision of the new films starring the incomparable Robert Downey Jr, to the latest tv show set to launch starring Johnny Lee Miller (who you may love from Mansfield Park or the brilliant Plunkett and McClean) Sherlock has been on the hot classic list.
Personally, I have been devoted to the new BBC series with modern day “high functioning sociopath” Sherlock as an anti-hero, Richard III style character. Fans of Doctor Who will recognize the writing style, with its snappy dialogue and action.
Which brings me to the books. Even though I was raised on Sherlock (Young Sherlock Holmes was a favorite, which was followed three years later by the amazing Michael Caine as a puppet of Watson in Without A Clue), I must admit I had never read the books. Something about the weighty serials seemed daunting, and even though I enjoy the occasional Reg Rom spy plot or the irreverance of Brenda Joyce’s Francesca Cahill, I have never been one for reading mysteries. Watching them, yes! My father introduced me to Agatha Christie films and I faithfully watch Masterpiece Mystery weekly.
But I was intrigued, after all the inundation with Sherlock, to discover his roots.
Luckily, technology helped me get over the mental hurdle of lugging the anthology of Conan Doyle’s master detective, and within a space of a minute I was glued to my Nook devouring the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
The writing is amazing. Snappy, timeless…and laugh out loud funny at times, the Sherlock we are introduced to in the first few pages is, indeed, a high-functioning sociopathic, pugilist, with a love of costumes and an amazing ability, most likely through being completely ignorant and oblivious to everything except knowledge which helps him solve cries, to be respected by all walks of life.
He is not liked. Not really, anyway, although many admire him for his skill. And, as he laments, he never gets credit for his brilliance instead having to settle for payment while the bickering Scotland Yard detectives Gregson and Lestrade get the glory in the papers.
I started with “A Study in Scarlet”, Sherlocks introduction, which was followed by “The Sign of The Four” which is based on a fascinating history and fiction of early polygamy in Salt Lake City.
I am still reading, in between Reg Rom, the “official” stories within the anthology but can tell you that it is definitely worth a download. If you are fascinated by the anti-hero, and Victorian culture/society (including wonderful descriptions of London), you will enjoy, as I am, the oft imitated Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
(Due to violence and adult subject matter, not appropriate for children under 15. Well, then again the Hunger Games is pretty violent…so use your own judgment.)
Thanks for a great post. I love Sherlock Homes books and films, and although purist friends have screeched in horror at the recent modern adaptations (love the steampunk version), the BBC series starring Jermey Brett and Edward Hardwicke (Watson) is simply the best. The wonderfully mellifluous Charles Gray plays Sherlock’s brother Mycroft. If you’re looking for a faithful adaptation of the books and a marvellous recreation of Victorian London, then look no further. The iconic Brett was Sherlock to the last ounce. The actor’s obituary in the NY Times reads: “Mr. Brett was regarded as the quintessential Holmes: breathtakingly analytical, given to outrageous disguises and the blackest moods and relentless in his enthusiasm for solving the most intricate crimes.” I don’t think anyone could describe the character of Holmes better.