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84 Years Later, Sherlock Holmes is Reborn in Print
January 21, 2011 10:58 AM   Subscribe

While there has been quite a few pastiches, parodies, and new stories by fans of Sherlock Holmes over the years, there has been no new works to be placed in the canon of Sherlock Holmes since the final collection was published in 1927. But that is going to change in 2011: Anthony Horowitz has been chosen by Arthur Conan Doyle's estate to write an official Sherlock Holmes novel. Horowitz is the author of the Alex Rider series of young adult spy novels, The Power of Five series of fantasy suspense novels, and a number of TV writing credits. Until then, enjoy digital copies of the Sherlock Holmes canon, and then some.

1. A Study in Scarlet (first published 1887); see also: a later edition, with a note on Sherlock Holmes by Joseph Bell, illustrated by George Hutchinson
2. The Sign of the Four (first published 1890; also available: a "New Edition," published 1908)
3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1891–1892 in The Strand; also available: 1902 edition with new Author's Preface)
4. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1892–1893 in The Strand as further episodes of the Adventures)
5. The Hound of the Baskervilles (serialised 1901–1902 in The Strand; also available: New Edition, published 1908)
6. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1903–1904 in The Strand; also available: 1907 edition with illustrations by Charles Raymond MaCauley)
7. The Valley of Fear (serialised 1914–1915)
8. His Last Bow (contains stories published 1908–1913 and 1917)
9. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (contains stories published 1921–1927; also available as a PDF with stories in different order)

Additional short stories:

1. "The Field Bazaar" (1896 - one of two parodies by Doyle)
2. "The Lost Special" (1898)
3. "The Man with the Watches" (1898)
4. "The Adventure of the Tall Man" (c. 1900)
5. "How Watson Learned the Trick" (1924 - the second parody by Doyle)

Back in 2005, Stanford University was planning to republishing a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, "just as they were originally printed and illustrated in The Strand Magazine." In 2007, 12 editions were posted online for free.
posted by filthy light thief (47 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Whatev, Anthony Horowitz, it's fanfic like the rest.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on January 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


Since it's all out of copyright, I'm not sure Conan Doyle's descendents have more say in what is "official" than anyone else. Horowitz does great work though.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:03 AM on January 21, 2011


That's just silly - if it wasn't written by ACD then it isn't a bona fide Sherlock Holmes book. I don't care whether it's endorsed by the estate or not - which isn't to say it will be a bad book, but come on.
posted by zeoslap at 11:05 AM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sigh. Did you have to bring up fanfic. My wife has been spending too much time "reading" on the computer again. See, due to the success of the Downey movie Sherlock Holmes and the BBC series Sherlock, the slash fiction community has now become totally obsessed with Holmes/Watson. Kill.Me.Now.
posted by Ber at 11:06 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The best Sherlock Holmes fanfic is House.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:07 AM on January 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


The best Auguste Dupin fanfic is Holmes.
posted by Iridic at 11:08 AM on January 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


My bullshit sense is tingling at the term "official". Does it have any meaning other than "give us your money"?
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:09 AM on January 21, 2011


Anthony Horowitz wrote Foyle's War, which was great stuff.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:10 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


The screenwriter behind Midsomer Murders? Christ.
posted by cromagnon at 11:11 AM on January 21, 2011


Since it's all out of copyright

It's not, though -- at least, not in the United States. Due to our insane copyright laws, Conan Dolye's work won't be in the public domain in the US until 2023. Not that this thing is going to be any more canonical than any other Holmesiana.

If it says Sherlock Holmes on the tin, though, I'll probably read it.
posted by steambadger at 11:15 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not all the Sherlock Holmes stories are public domain in the United States.

The Case Book will enter the public domain between 2016 and 2023. There are also some disputes between a number of individuals in the U.S. who believe they own the copyright. Everyone has to love the mess of the United States Copyright system.
posted by jgaiser at 11:19 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Correction: as jgaiser says, only some of the Holmes stories are still under copyright.
posted by steambadger at 11:30 AM on January 21, 2011


Also, nicely formatted ebooks of "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" are available at MobileReads in epub format and mobi/prc format.
posted by jgaiser at 11:31 AM on January 21, 2011


Feh.
posted by Bummus at 11:32 AM on January 21, 2011


Neil Gaiman's Hugo Award-winning A Study in Emerald is available online at his site. To say anything more would spoil it. (paging Artw :-)
posted by kurumi at 11:33 AM on January 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


Lots of great reading material here. Thanks!
posted by zarq at 11:35 AM on January 21, 2011


Oh, I've read it. Nice little piece - I particularly like the identity of the narrator.
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on January 21, 2011


jgaiser: The Case Book will enter the public domain between 2016 and 2023.

Aha, that's why there were no copies on Archive.org

According to this mini-interview with Horowitz, he was surprised to be picked as the writer of a new "ACD Estate" authorized Sherlock Holmes book. For whatever that's worth.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:38 AM on January 21, 2011


I can't get too upset about this; there's no way this will be any worse than "His Last Bow".
posted by IjonTichy at 11:43 AM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Did anyone read that Dacre Stoker thing?
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on January 21, 2011


When I hear about authorized books, I always think of the estate-authorized prequel series to Zelazny's Amber books, which caused huge wankfests among the Amber gamers of my e- and a-cquaintnace. I know the Holmes canon has a pretty persnickety bunch of "fans" even if it's not a media fandom in the livejournal sense; I can only imagine what they're going to do about this.

(Upside: I am reminded I have a set of reprints of everything in the public domain I should get into.)
posted by immlass at 11:45 AM on January 21, 2011


This is as good an excuse as any to link to the saddest comedy sketch ever written, from this year's Mitchell and Webb finale.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:45 AM on January 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


drats, there goes the book deal.
posted by clavdivs at 12:09 PM on January 21, 2011


Oh, good. I had run out of Brian Herbert novels to read; this should give me something new and exciting.
posted by Mayor West at 12:11 PM on January 21, 2011


I second the praise for Foyle's War.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:17 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Arthur Conan Doyle's estate authorized first new books the whah? Arthur Conan Doyle's son doesn't count as authorized by the estate??

The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes, by Adrian Conan Doyle, published 1954.
posted by ormondsacker at 12:19 PM on January 21, 2011


There's lots of excellent post-Sherlockiana out there, from Lyndsay Faye's excellent Dust and Shadow (good Sherlock novel; great Jack the Ripper novel) to Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald" (Lovecraftian Sherlock). This being authorized by whoever isn't necessarily going to make it any better than what's already going.

Eoin Colfer's Douglas Adams-estate-authorized And Another Thing was, well, kind of a disappointment both to Colfer fans and to Adams fans. Estates don't always have the best track records on this stuff.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:22 PM on January 21, 2011


ormondsacker - I thought I heard on some news coverage that this was the first "official" Sherlock Holmes story since ... some time back ... but I couldn't find the article or news clip (thought it was on NPR, but my search attempts failed).

Looking on the wiki entry for that collection, someone has credited it to the "pastiche" category:
Parallels to 'canonical' stories are uncomfortably close sometimes. The stated intention of expanding the tantalising references Doyle made to unwritten cases did not work out, and the new stories often have to abridge those references, or quote them selectively, or explain them away.
Sounds like a Brian Herbert kind of thing.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:24 PM on January 21, 2011


Oh, it's emphatically a Brian Herbert thing. Adrian's described in his wiki article there as "using the Conan Doyle estate as a milch-cow"*. What's happening right now, though, sounds like exactly like Frank Herbert's great-grands announcing the First New Dune Novel ever!!, completely ignoring the unfortunate incident when great-uncle Brian did exactly the same thing sixty years ago.


*That said, Adrian's ghost-writer on the Exploits was noted locked-room mystery guru John Dickson Carr, so some of them are actually quite decent - especially some of the later stories that glance at canon and then go their own way. I'd take them over 90% of the other post-Doyle Holmes stuff out there. Not A Study in Emerald, though, that rocks.
posted by ormondsacker at 12:46 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Official schmofficial, but I'm reminded I really should get to these nice annotated Sherlock Holmes volumes.
posted by Zed at 12:54 PM on January 21, 2011


This book will not be canon. The Adrian Conan Doyle stories are not canon. Not even all of the bloody canon is canon ('The Adventure of the Lion's Mane'? Bah.).
posted by mayhap at 1:16 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The screenwriter behind Midsomer Murders? Christ.

I AM SO EXCITED YOU GUYS
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:26 PM on January 21, 2011


Artw: "Did anyone read that Dacre Stoker thing?"

My wife read it and complained bitterly all the way through. I asked her why she kept reading and she said, "I'm waiting for the part where he explains why he's doing this ALL WRONG."
posted by maurice at 1:36 PM on January 21, 2011


At this point it's worth remembering that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a big believer in spiritualism, and is presumably floating around absolutely fuming about this.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I blame the Cottingley Fairies.
posted by Iridic at 1:52 PM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh what fun Mr. Milverton!
shall we have with our Chubb held Leeks...
posted by clavdivs at 2:24 PM on January 21, 2011


At this point it's worth remembering that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a big believer in spiritualism, and is presumably floating around absolutely fuming about this.

Well he has already communicated at least one book from "the other side," so if he wished to fume (via a medium) about the new book or author, or even dictate his own sequel, there is precedent.

See: The Demon Device: A Novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as communicated to Robert Saffron
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 2:51 PM on January 21, 2011


Did anyone read that Dacre Stoker thing?

Yes.

this is just to say

that I have ruined
the characters
my great-granduncle invented
and which you were probably enjoying

forgive me
they offered me lots of money
and I was untalented
so lazy, so poor

posted by Sidhedevil at 2:57 PM on January 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Holmes pastiche is a crowded literary genre, that has been going strong for 100 years. Everybody's had a hand at a Sherlock Holmes story at one point or another. I strongly recommend "The Seven Percent Solution" by Nicholas Meyer, which was a best seller in the 70s and was made into a pretty good movie starring Nichol Williamson. He followed this with "The West End Horror" in which Holmes meets Gilbert & Sullivan. Fun, needless to say. Meyer went on to become a fabulous film director ("Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn", "Time After Time", "The Day After).
posted by Faze at 3:38 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


"The Seven Percent Solution" by Nicholas Meyer

Not available on Netflix (i.e. on DVD), for anyone else who wanted to check. I've seen it; the cast is fantastic ("Laurence Olivier as Prof. Moriarty, Robert Duvall as Dr. Watson and Alan Arkin as Freud").

That's just silly - if it wasn't written by ACD then it isn't a bona fide Sherlock Holmes book.

No, that's a silly position to take. Nearly everything Shakespeare wrote was adapted from some other source. I suppose we can argue about what bona fide or canon mean, but I take the position of the mash-up and adaptation as legitimate, although the deliberate pastiche is a bit more problematic. I might have liked the Gardner or Benson 007 novels better if they had more original takes on the character or milieu, for instance.

The screenwriter behind Midsomer Murders?

He only wrote six of them (two of the original adaptations, and four more originals).
posted by dhartung at 5:58 PM on January 21, 2011


Loved The Seven Per Cent Solution -- it should be "canonized."

"Pastiche" is the "longtime companion" of literary terminology. Pastiche is what writers call it when they're writing fanfic, to indicate that they have a sane, plush, gentlemanly avocation which is not at all shared by overweight undersexed young women who use the word "squee." I should know; I do it all the time myself, and call it one thing or the other, depending on the current reading of my Shame-o-meter. In a decade or two, people will be writing Trek and Star Wars "pastiches," and when we're old it will be Hannah Montana "pastiche."
posted by Countess Elena at 5:58 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, pastiche also incorporates stories featuring characters with the serial numbers filed off, like the awesome Gods of Manhattan, which is basically a mad threeway conflict between Doc Savage, The Shadow and Zorro in a steampunk New York, but each of those characters is sufficiently changed from their source that they become a thing of their own - so it works within archetypes without being strictly limited by then. If it was more fanficish then it would be more about being THE Doc Savage, THE Shadow, etc... etc...

But the point largely stands.
posted by Artw at 7:44 PM on January 21, 2011


Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Years by Jamyang Norbu is the best IMO

"The Adventure of the Bulgarian Diplomat" by Zakaria Erzinçlioglu is very good.


The screenwriter behind Midsomer Murders?

Needs more Cully and Joyce.

posted by clavdivs at 10:13 PM on January 21, 2011


This is as good an excuse as any to link to the saddest comedy sketch ever written , from this year's Mitchell and Webb finale.

Oh my god.
posted by eugenen at 10:32 PM on January 21, 2011


Hoorah! This reminded me to check that my favourite Sherlockiana ever is still up on the web, and it is! Sub Rosa: A CORRESPONDENCE BY WIRE is fanfic executed in the medium of near-perfect Photoshops. Please check it out, it's brilliant.
posted by Acheman at 6:05 AM on January 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Acheman, you are right! Amazing stuff.
posted by josher71 at 6:59 AM on January 22, 2011


I suppose this would be the place to express my admiration for The Final Solution by Michael Chabon, and point to Planetary by Warren Ellis and The League of Extraordinary Gentleman by Alan Moore as featuring elements of pastiche that touch on Holmes.
posted by fFish at 1:59 PM on January 22, 2011


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