This story was first published on The Reading Room.
It’s a rare, but spectacular thing—a fictional character comes to life for millions of readers worldwide. A truly remarkable character, like a catchy song, can be difficult to get out of your head and/or heart. One of the most beloved characters of all time, Sherlock Holmes, has appeared many times outside of an Arthur Conan Doyle novel. He’s been featured in movies, televisions shows, and, of course, books. Here is a list of seven books by authors so taken by the famous detective and his companions that they were compelled to add an episode to the ongoing saga of his life and times.
Mrs. Hudson and the Spirits’ Curse, by Martin Davies
Mrs. Hudson is the name of Holmes’s newly appointed housekeeper. Along with Flottie, an orphan girl in her care, Mrs. Hudson takes it upon herself to help Holmes and Watson solve their latest case, which involves, as the title suggests, a curse from beyond the natural world.
Moriarty, by Anthony Horowitz
SPOILER ALERT: Holmes isn’t in this one. Moriarty picks up where the Arthur Conan Doyle books end, with Holmes and his nemesis, the eponymous Moriarty, falling off a cliff.
However, this thriller carries on the Holmes legacy by inhabiting the same world and injecting it with dark and urgent matters. A must read for any Holmes fan.
The Final Solution, by Michael Chabon
An 89-year-old retired detective is the protagonist of this one. Though content in retirement, Holmes’ powers of detection are restimulated by a mute boy, whose parrot is stolen. Because this is written by Chabon, readers can expect a more subtle and emotionally profound story than many of the others on this list.
The Italian Secretary, by Caleb Carr
The Italian Secretary begins with Holmes in the midst of dealing with a series of assassination attempts on Queen Victoria. Throughout, the book is an interesting mix of darkness and humor. An entertaining read for anyone wanting to spend a little more time with Holmes and Watson.
Slight Trick of the Mind, by Mitch Cullin
A Slight Trick of the Mind, like Chabon’s book, picks up with Holmes in retirement. He’s 93 and living in a remote Sussex farmhouse with his housekeeper and her son.
Also like the Chabon novel, Holmes emerges from retirement to solve one final case.
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie R. King
As the title suggests, the beekeeper (Holmes) finds an apprentice named Mary Russell, who is an intellectual equal and helps Holmes solve the story’s mystery regarding the kidnapped daughter of an American senator.
Death Cloud, by Andrew Lane
Unique among the novels on this list, Death Cloud, focuses on Holmes’ early years.
In this novel, the first in a series, Holmes is fourteen and staying with his uncle and aunt while on break from boarding school. When two locals die with plague-like symptoms, Holmes sets out to discover what really happened.