Sherlock Holmes Lives On!

Sherlock Homes, the quintessential detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle, first appeared in A Study in Scarlet in 1887.  Doyle penned four novels and 56 short stories, chronicling the adventures of the great detective as seen though the eyes of the narrator of the Sherlock tales, Doctor John Watson.

Yet, when you go to our catalog and type “Sherlock Holmes” in the search box, much more comes up that just the Arthur Conan Doyle tales.  Sherlock Holmes appears in many new and sometimes surprising stories. One of my new favorites is The Daughter of Sherlock Homes by Leonard S. Goldberg.

It is no secret from the outset of the story that Joanna Blalock, a widow with a ten year old son who looks just the late Sherlock Holmes,  is the daughter of the great detective. The pleasure of this tale is not making that discovery but uncovering a world where the descendants of all the original Conan Doyle characters are living intertwined lives. The son of Inspector Lestrade bumbles his way though a murder investigation. The son of Doctor Watson is at the side of his elderly parent and just as blind to observations and deductions that never escape the sharp eyes of Joanna (whose mother is none other than Irene Adler, the only person to ever get the better of Sherlock Holmes!) Even the offspring of the infamous villains that Holmes faced are present.

I recently wrote a blog post about Enola Homes, the younger sister of Sherlock in Nancy Springer’s clever children’s mystery series. Since then, I have realized that the exploits of Sherlock Holmes did not end with the final Conan Doyle story, and, being a big Holmes fan, I’m glad that the great detective lives on. Here is a small sampling of other incarnations of Sherlock Holmes:

The Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mystery series by Laurie R. King.
In The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, the first book in the series, a chance meeting with a Sussex beekeeper turns into a pivotal moment when fifteen-year-old Mary Russell discovers that the beekeeper is the reclusive, retired detective Sherlock Holmes, who soon takes on the role of mentor and teacher.

Sherlock Holmes and the King’s Evil and Other New Adventures of the Great Detective by Donald Thomas.
Five original tales inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic character feature Holmes taking on such challenges as the famed siege of Sydney Street, a planned German invasion of America, and a supernatural curse.

Sherlock Holmes and the Shakespeare Letter by Barry Grant.
Searching through modern London for a stolen letter purportedly written by Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes discovers a plot to arm terrorists and enlists the aid of his roommate, James Wilson, to track the arms dealers to a Scottish castle.

The Perils of Sherlock Holmes by Loren D. Estleman.
A collection of Sherlock Holmes mysteries and essays, including “Channeling Holmes,” “On the Significance of Boswells,” and “Was Sherlock Holmes The Shadow?” that delve deeper into the world of Sherlock Holmes and the imaginative mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma by Larry Millett.
Dogged by depression and—as a trip to the Mayo Clinic has revealed—emphysema, 66-year-old Sherlock Holmes is preparing to return to England when he receives a shock: a note slipped under his hotel room door, from a vicious murderer he’d nearly captured in Munich in 1892.

A Delicious Mystery Series

I recently stumbled on the Verlaque and Bonnet mysteries by M.L. Longworth. These delectable stories are set in Aix-en-Provence and begin with Death at the Château Bremont.

Death at the Château Bremont‘s description says “Antoine Verlaque, the handsome chief magistrate of Aix and his sometimes love interest, law professor Marine Bonnet, investigate the death of a local French nobleman who fell from the family Chateau in charming and historic Aix-en-Provence.”

Simple, non? Well, that one-sentence blurb does not even begin to cover the colorful world waiting for you within its pages. Not only do you get a good mystery, the descriptions of the town and countryside are a virtual tour of Provence. Longworth, who has lived there since 1997, obviously loves her adopted home.

And the food! As the characters eat and drink their way though the story, I often became more engrossed in their meals than in their sleuthing. They partake of fine wines and cheeses. They visit vineyards and cafes.  They meet friends for scrumptious dinners at small restaurants owned by skilled chefs. I was completely consumed by lifestyle envy.

The story is liberally sprinkled with passages such as this:

He tore open the cannele and bit into the soft inner cake made of rum and vanilla. Crusty and caramelized on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside, it was perfect.

The mystery floats in the background as the characters sit in cafes consuming fine French food and debating the merits of various wines. Verlaque often despairs of Marine. He is a gourmet and she will eat anything! Still, they enjoy an on-again, off-again love affair amid some meals that made me want to pack and move to France.

There are currently six books in this cozy mystery series. Warning: They are not only a good read, they will make you hungry!

Murder in the Rue Dumas

Death in the Vines

Murder on the Île Sordou

The Mystery of the Lost Cézanne

The Curse of La Fontaine

On Our Shelves: New Cozy Mysteries

mysteryThe latest cozy mysteries for your reading enjoyment.

rest ye murderedRest Ye Murdered Gentlemen (A Year-Round Christmas Mystery) – Vicki Delany – When her holiday float is sabotaged, Merry Wilkinson, the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, must discover who the Scrooge is in Christmas Town after the dead body of a reporter is found and the evidence points to her best friend, Vicky.

 

crownedCrowned and Moldering (A Fixer-Upper Mystery) – Kate Carlisle – While helping her new beau, Mac Sullivan, renovate his historic lighthouse mansion, contractor Shannon Hammer stumbles upon the remains of a missing young woman who disappeared 15 years earlier and must right the wrongs of the past and bring a killer to justice.

 

stitching hourThe Stitching Hour (An Embroidery Mystery) – Amanda Lee – A commercial haunted house next door threatens to scare away business at Marcy Singer’s Tallulah Falls, Oregon embroidery shop, Seven-Year Stitch, and soon things get even worse when a local waitress is found dead with mysterious markings on her neck—and one of Marcy’s festive trinkets in her possession.

writing all wrongsWriting All Wrongs (Books By The Bay Mystery) – Ellery Adams – While attending the Coastal Carolina Crime Festival where Silas Black, a celebrity screenwriter and television producer is speaking, newlyweds Olivia and Chief Rawlings, along with the rest of the Bayside Book Writers, are faced with strange occurrences and a real-life murder.

plot boilerPlot Boiler (A Black Cat Bookshop Mystery) – Ali Brandon – When the wife of the cantankerous owner of Perky’s Coffee Shop is found dead, bookseller Darla Pettistone and her cat, Hamlet, must throw the book at a killer who has a secret worth killing for. By the New York Times best-selling author of Literally Murder.

 

nuts and buriedNuts and Buried (A Nut House Mystery) – Elizabeth Lee – When her wealthy friend, Eugene Wheatley, is murdered after introducing his new bride to Riverville, Texas society, Lindy Blanchard launches her own investigation after the wrong woman and her unscrupulous kin are accused of the crime and turns to her meemaw Miss Amelia for help. Includes pecan recipes.

claws for alarmClaws For Alarm (A Nick & Nora Mystery) – T. C. LoTempio – When her sister, Lacey, is accused of killing her bullying professor over a bad grade, sandwich-shop owner Nora Charles goes undercover at the college, with her feline partner Nick, to expose the professor’s true nature and force the real killer out into the open.

 

white colanderWhite Colander Crime (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery) – Victoria Hamilton – When she discovers the battered body of local woman Shelby Fretter, who predicted her own murder at the hands of Cody Wainwright, food columnist Jaymie Leighton is not convinced that the troubled son of her beleaguered newspaper editor is responsible and decides to investigate on her own.

iced princessThe Iced Princess  (A Snow Globe Shop Mystery) – Christine Husom – When Molly Dalton, a rich socialite, begs them for a job, curio shop owner Camryn Brooks and her BFF, coffee shop owner, Alice Nelson, find a real-life mystery brewing in their shop after Molly is found dead, which submerges them both in hot water.

 

pouncingPouncing on Murder (Bookmobile Cat Mystery) – Laurie Cass – When maple-syrup season is marred by the death of her favorite syrup provider, bookmobile librarian Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat, Eddie, must tap into the clues to find the truth before someone else ends up in the same sticky situation.

 

Psychics in Fiction

crystal-ballDid you know that October 31st is Increase Your Psychic Powers Day?

I didn’t know it. Guess that means I’m not psychic. But I was curious so, like a good librarian, I began researching the topic. And discovered… Well, not a whole lot.

The day is rumored to have its origins in England back in the nineteenth century even though no one seems to have heard of this holiday until recently. Halloween is regarded as the day when the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world is weakest, so some believe if you are going to try out your psychic powers October 31 is the best day to do it.

I guess if I were psychic I would have known all about it.

Anyway, I decided to abandon the research and delve into the world of fiction. And here I hit paydirt. Literature abounds with tales of psychics.

Irish GoldAndrew Greeley, famous for his Blackie Ryan mysteries, also has a series about Nuala Anne McGrail, Irish immigrant, beautiful, a gifted singer, and, oh yes, psychic. She uses her psychic skills to solve mysteries. The first book in this series of twelve is Irish Gold.

In Too DeepThe Arcane Society novels by Amanda Quick and Jayne Ann Krentz (who just happen to be the same person) revolve around a mysterious society of people with psychic powers. The Amanda Quick books are set in England at the end of the nineteenth century. The Krentz books are all modern. All the tales are romantic suspense with a dash of psychic power.

Sleeping with FearKay Hooper has a mystery series that is described as psychic suspense. Her hero is FBI agent Noah Bishop, whose rare gift for seeing what others do not helps him solve the most puzzling cases. The books are denoted by the tagline Bishop/Special Crimes Unit and as of 2013 there fifteen titles in the series.

There are many, many more great novels about psychics. If you have a feeling you’d like to peruse a few, here is a short list, in no particular order, of ten more popular titles:

  1. Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard
  2. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
  3. By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz
  4. Pandora’s Daughter by Iris Johansen
  5. Before I Say Goodbye by Mary Higgins Calrk
  6. Darkness My Old Friend by Lisa Unger
  7. What I Had Before I Had You by Sarah Cornwell
  8. The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho
  9. The Dead Path  by Stephen Irwin
  10. The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

For a lengthier list of titles, concentrate really, really hard… Or just click this link and peruse our catalog.