The character of Sherlock Holmes is featured in many forms of popular media today, but it all started with the writings of a British author that did not initially become popular with the public for a few years. Though they got off to a slow start, the literary works involving Holmes would grow into a global phenomenon and generate an endless amount of inspired stories that created the popular eccentric mystery literature that many are so familiar with now.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
When speaking of Sherlock Holmes in the pages of literary works, it starts with the man who created the character. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had his first printed story of Sherlock Holmes released in 1887. The name of the story was A Study in Scarlet, and it featured both Holmes and Dr. Watson as characters. At first, the publication was not popular at all. It received little attention from readers and a copy of its original print is extremely rare in modern times. However, Doyle’s continued efforts led to regular stories being printed in The Strand Magazine which brought Sherlock Holmes into the spotlight and gained incredible popularity with the reading audience. These works would start a new era of success for mystery literature and create inspiration for many authors in the future.
The First Derivative Story
After Arthur Conan Doyle passed away in 1930, there were many different stories about Sherlock Holmes that were published in honor and respect of the late author’s writing style. However, Doyle was still alive and well when his work first inspired others to write in the same fashion. The first known piece of literature that would pay homage to Sherlock Holmes without Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the pen was from 1893. Doyle had a close friend by the name of J.M. Barrie, who would take the author’s fictional character of Sherlock Holmes and feature him in a pastiche known as The Late Sherlock Holmes. J.M. Barrie would go on to create immense success for himself as well. As it so happens, Barrie is the man behind the creation of the Peter Pan series of works.
There have been countless authors who have taken the reins and offered their own unique versions of Sherlock Holmes stories over the years. The notable writers contributing to the Sherlock Holmes catalog of literature include Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Dorothy B. Hughes. Their works have garnered praise from multiple sources and pay the proper respects to one of the greatest fictional characters in history. However, perhaps the most intriguing work came from John Dickson Carr, who actually collaborated with Arthur Conan Doyle’s son and wrote an entire collection of pastiches that was published in 1954. More recent contributions include The House of Silk published by Anthony Horowitz in 2011 that was released as an approved continuation of the works of Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Mary Russell Series
Sherlock Holmes would have a consistent string appearances when his character was brought back to life in the Mary Russell series of mystery stories created by the author Laurie R. King. Holmes was portrayed in somewhat of a different style here, being a semi-retired detective who again begins delving into mysteries after meeting a young girl with a passion for solving crime. The two work together, with Sherlock Holmes training Russell and honing her detective skills as they move from case to case. These characters would actually end up becoming married to each other in the stories, putting an interesting romantic twist on the series. In total, there have been 14 stories created by Laurie R. King with Russell and Holmes.