In 1887, Sherlock Holmes began to stalk the literary world. He lived at 221B Baker Street, London, and ran a private detective agency. He was brilliant, eccentric, and without equal. After a few years he was joined by Dr. Watson, both as a right-hand man as a chronicler. Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes was featured in four novels and fifty-six short stories. And I think it's safe to say that Holmes had an affection for the Americans starting from his very first story — "A Study in Scarlet" — when he told of an adventure in Utah.
And even today, Holmes has left an indelible impression upon the world at large, including American shores. In March 2009, Sherlock Holmes in America was published as a collection of 16 original short mystery stories featuring the famous detective. The collection was edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, and Daniel Stashower. Some of the writers included in the collection are Robert Pohle, Loren D. Estleman, Victoria Thompson, Gillian Linscott, Carolyn Wheat, and Jon L. Breen.
Timing for this collection is just about perfect, as the marketing starts to ratchet up later in the year for the upcoming Guy Ritchie movie. Simply titled Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson, the movie will release on Christmas Day 2009 and I know I'm intrigued to see it. Though this is definitely not the first time Holmes will grace the big screen, it will be the first time in since around 1946.
As a relative newbie to the Sherlock Holmes stories, I figured Sherlock Holmes in America would be a great way to get my feet wet. And I was definitely correct. Now I will have to go back to the original source material and start my way through the great detective's many adventures.
Each of the authors had something different to bring to the table. Holmes, Watson, and even Mycroft (Sherlock's brother) appear in these adventures, but it was the many other characters I found fascinating.
In "The Adventure of the Coughing Dentist" by Loren D. Estleman, Holmes and Watson encountered Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, famous for the gunfight at the OK Corral. In the story, Holmes and Watson helped Earp clear the name of his good friend Holliday from a crime he didn't commit.
In Gillian Linscott's story "The Case of Colonel Crockett's Violin," the dynamic duo help clear up a mystery surrounding the origin of two violins said to have been owned by Davy Crockett at the Alamo.
And in Bill Crider's story "The Adventure of the White City," the duo help Buffalo Bill Cody avoid an unfortunate incident with Sitting Bull's cabin. A group of Native Americans wished to destroy the cabin in an act of defiance for Sitting Bull's compliance in the Custer massacre. Annie Oakley also appears in the story.
It was great to see these two iconic detectives appear in the context of the history of America during his lifetime. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the stories and definitely need to start reading Doyle's original stories before Guy Ritchie's movie appears at the end of the year.
If you're a Sherlock Holmes fan, it's hard to go wrong with Sherlock Holmes in America. Pick up a copy and enjoy these great adventures!