It’s been over 130 years since the Sherlock Holmes first made his way into print, but in recent years, there has been a resurgence of him in popular culture. Movies and TV shows depict his incredible genius to a new generation, and maybe those viewers will become readers. For this reason, I asked Angela Misri, the author of Jewel of the Thames and Thrice Burned, which you can win here, to explore why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective is still relevant to teens and adults today. Here’s what she said:
I just visited the Sherlock Holmes exhibit at the Museum of London and got to immerse myself in the world of the detective I love to read about and write about. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created his great detective more than a century ago and has spawned hundreds of stories, many movies and TV shows and enough pastiche and fan fiction to fill a public library. What is it about the misanthropic detective and his loyal best friend from Baker Street that continues to fascinate?
It has to start with our enduring appetite for the superhero. When you think about it, Holmes is like the first superhero – before Superman, Batman and all the rest. He was the man who stood above everyone else, who had abilities others couldn’t even fathom. He stood next to Dr. Watson (whom by all accounts could be seen as an above average intelligence) and astounded him with his intelligence for almost three decades! That inexplicable ability to see what others could not was a superpower and we, the public, were hooked from the very first case.
Walking through the recreation of 221B it became very apparent that the bromance between Holmes and Watson is another reason we love them so very much. You see Watson’s desk with medical journals and such neatly stacked, and then you see Holmes’ chemistry experiments strewn haphazardly over tables and chairs. I think we all, from teenager to senior citizen, have that best friend who is our polar opposite. That person in our lives that we would do anything for, and who can drive us crazy somedays and save our souls on others. Even if Holmes’ extreme personality is not the ‘norm,’ his reliance and friendship with Watson is totally relatable in any century.
But it was our afternoon walking the paths in Regents Park that reminded me why I write pastiche about the Holmesian universe created by Conan-Doyle: that there is so much potential left in the story. Even by just accelerating my story into the 1930s I am able to grow my detective in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in the original Baker Street time period. The revolution in women’s rights is making huge strides and suddenly, being a girl-detective pursuing her law degree in London is not half so outrageous as it would have been in the late 1880s. And as I said before, there is enough pastiche written about the offices on Baker Street that you could fill a library, so I am obviously not alone in my feeling of possibility!
I have to wonder if Conan-Doyle would have been pleased to pass on the pipe to a new generation of writers that he inspired – I choose to believe that he would.
Thanks so much for stopping by YABookShelf.com and sharing this guest post, Angela! If you enjoyed what she had to say and want some Portia Adams in your life, then please enter to win an eBook copy of Thrice Burned below! Open internationally between today and April 2, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST, which – spoiler alert – just happens to be my birthday!