Sunday, November 11, 2012

I'm a Little In Love with Sherlock

When I was in 7th grade, my history teacher loaned me her copy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Complete Sherlock Holmes. Because I am who I am, it was no surprise to anyone to see thirteen-year-old bespectacled me hauling this 1000+ page tome around, working my way through it as I sat in class or walked to and from school or stood in the lunch line. (Every day I bought a PBJ. Every day. Except when they only had grape jelly left, then I had nachos. Health!)

So it is no surprise to me that Holmes and Watson are so hot in current story-telling outlets. (I mean hot as in a big commodity. But: see image snagged from Lyndsay Faye’s tumblr.)

Naturally, I’m fully on board with all of these screen versions of Holmes. Classic? Sure! Modern? Why not! Set him in Ancient Babylon, for all I care, but bring on the Holmes.

I’ve already gone on (and on?) about Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series - as you are all devoted readers and followers of mine, I’m sure you’re at least as far into the series as I am, right? (I finished the madcap, delightful Pirate King and have only one published volume left. This makes me sad.) Have I mentioned the use of language in these books? Mary Russell’s voice is so strong and perfect and everything a smart British-American-Jewish scholar of religion in the 1920s should be, but more so. The word choice could not be more ideal. So, in the series, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are married. And although it’s understated and cerebral, as great loves go, it is indeed a great love. There’s just something vital there between them.

Next: I mentioned Lyndsay Faye’s novel Gods of Gotham and how I was totally brought round to absorption in her world. Her debut, Dust and Shadow, is Dr. Watson’s narration of Holmes’s involvement in the case of Jack the Ripper. Again, the language was superb. The pacing and Faye’s grasp of the characters shone throughout, and I raced through it, while not wanting it to end. Enhancing the narrative was the audio production - Dust and Shadow was read by my big audio-crush Simon Vance. (My husband assures me that his diphthongs are not the sum of the man, and that I need to stop getting carried away by them. And that’s well and good, but in this book, at one point, Holmes takes on a Welsh accent to mask his identity. Vance as Holmes as Welsh! Come ON!) 

So there it all is. The timeline of my romance. From adolescent impressed by the Great Detective’s skills to sympathetic reader of Holmes’s wife’s tales to absorbed listener of Vance-as-Holmes tackling one of the most known true-crime serial murder cases in history. Throw in a little Miller / Downey Jr. / Cumberbatch action (or a LOT…) and is it any wonder that I am more than a little in love with Sherlock Holmes?


  1. Definitely going on my #toRead list. I do love the idea of Dust and Shadow - it's made for a Ripperologist like me!

  2. i had kind of a crush on sherlock holmes when i was in junior high. when i realized he smoked opium, i was outraged.

  3. Oh, man, Laurie, I totally forgot about my outrage over his drug use! Yeah, that was hard for me to stomach, too. I'm over it now, because I can now see the deeply hidden pain that, given the chance, I would totally heal.