Tag Archives: sherlock holmes

Not a Fool: The Importance of Portraying Dr. Watson Correctly

All but four of the original sixty Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle (also known as the “canon”) are narrated by Dr. John Watson.

You know what that tells us?  Watson is not merely a sidekick.  He’s not an afterthought.  He’s not just the comic relief.  He’s not a cardboard cut-out for Holmes to bounce ideas off. Continue reading


Sherlock: The Value of Human Life

Sherlock Holmes is undoubtedly one of the most famous characters in literary history. His popularity continues to grow as modern storytellers adopt and reinvent his character in cinematic spinoffs like the Robert Downey Jr. films, CBS’s Elementary, and BBC’s Sherlock. Continue reading

Rest in Peace: The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane

What’s your favorite Sherlock Holmes story?

Every Holmes fan has a different answer to that question. My own has always been “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane.” Published in 1926, “Lion’s Mane” is the final installment in the collection entitled The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes. Because the Case-Book was the last Holmes anthology Conan Doyle published, “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane” was the last story Sherlock Holmes (in his original incarnation, at any rate) would ever appear in. Continue reading

Sherlock Holmes: A Canon of Friendship

Sherlock Holmes made an enormous impact on crime literature. His unusual methods (deductive reasoning, observation, and intuitive conclusions) were so different from the Penny Dreadfuls of the day, he became one of the most famous characters in history (only Bram Stoker’s Dracula has had as much fame). But what makes Holmes live on when history has forgotten many other fictional detectives? Continue reading

Haunted by the Hound


I can still remember the first time I read an entire, unabridged Sherlock Holmes adventure. I must have been about thirteen and knew I loved mysteries. I’d been devouring books about Trixie Belden and the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew for years, and my appetite for fictional crime-solving adventures just kept growing. Continue reading

The Modern Sherlock Holmes



Few literary figures are better known or loved than Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s consulting sleuth, occupant of 221B Baker Street. Since his first literary appearance in 1889, he continues to capture the devotion of millions through short stories, novels, radio plays, television series, and films. And during WWII, he inspired people by shedding his deerstalker to enter the modern age and deliver much needed hope worldwide. Continue reading

Brother Dear, Brother Mine: Sherlock



I’ve adored Sherlock Holmes since childhood. I marveled at his genius and thought no one could top him… until I met his big brother, Mycroft, “even more brilliant” than Sherlock, but so lazy he never sets foot outside his club. Instead, he “occupies a minor position in the British government.”

Over the years, adaptations of the stories introduced Mycroft but didn’t explore him in depth other than as a condescending force in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, where he is a mastermind who constantly berates his little brother for his foolishness. Continue reading

Launching a Conspiracy: Rewriting History in The Surrogate Assassin



For as long as there have been assassinations, there have been conspiracy theorists. Few of them  captured my interest until I read The Surrogate Assassin, by Christopher Leppek. This well-written book invites Sherlock Holmes to investigate the events behind the president’s death and form new and startling conclusions. Holmes is drawn into the case through an appeal of Edwin Booth, the elder  brother of the infamous murderer of Abraham Lincoln. It is many years after the incident, but various historical figures are still alive, and Holmes is intrigued by the thought of unmasking the “true” murderer. Continue reading

A Sign of Respect: Holmes and Watson



“Upon my word, Watson!” said Holmes at last with an unsteady voice, “I owe you both my thanks and an apology. It was an unjustifiable experiment even for one’s self, and doubly so for a friend. I am really very sorry.”

“You know,” I answered with some emotion, for I had never seen so much of Holmes’ heart before, “that it is my greatest joy and privilege to help you.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot

You can count on one hand the number of times amateur detective Sherlock Holmes expresses verbal concern for his compatriot, Doctor John Watson. It’s not so much that Holmes doesn’t feel, for I believe he feels very deeply, but rather he can’t function in his chosen mode of professionalism if he gives emotion a stronghold. Still, the façade is cracked, just a little, every time he places Watson in serious danger, the type that could actually result in their deaths. It’s the brief moments, such as the one from Devil’s Foot, that show Watson how much Holmes actually cares for him as a friend and a colleague. Continue reading