Detecting a Trend: 'Sherlock Holmes' @ DPL's Steampunk Film Series

Join us this week for the final installment of our Steampunk Film Series: Guy Ritchie's action-packed 2009 blockbuster, Sherlock Holmes.

Tuesday, June 25, 6:30-9 p.m.
Central Library, Level B2 Conference Center
Free admission

This brash, steampunk-flavored adventure features a fresh take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's characters, fight choreography based on a real Victorian system of martial arts, and strong performances between stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson.

We noticed several years ago that everyone's favorite master detective has been enjoying something of a renaissance, with successful new adaptations in film and television. Now, in addition to a sequel for the 2009 film, we've been treated to two excellent television series that transplant Holmes into modern times. The BBC's Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, returned to television screens last year with a second series of 90-minute episodes (a third is currently in production). And CBS scored a hit with Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, a modern adaptation that takes place in 21st-century New York. That show will return for its second season this fall.

Of course, Holmes began as a literary character and Doyle's creation lives on, not only in the original books, but in countless print adaptations and spin-offs. Here are a few of the recently published Sherlockian titles you can check out:

Baskerville: The Mysterious Tale of Sherlock's Return by John O'Connell - A literary thriller featuring Doyle himself that focuses on the controversy over the authorship of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova - This new guide teaches readers to use Holmes' methods of ever-present mindfulness, astute observation, and logical deduction to solve real-life problems.

Garment of Shadows: A Novel of Suspense Featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King - The latest novel in King's wonderful, long-running series that continues Holmes' adventures into the 20th century.  

The Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini - The first in a brand new mystery series about a former Pinkerton operative and an ex-Secret Service agent who start a detective agency in 1890's San Francisco. In this first story, our heroes encounter a rival: a strange man who claims to be Sherlock Holmes returned from the dead.

The Last Girlfriend on Earth and Other Love Stories by Simon Rich - Rich's latest collection of short stories includes one about a Sherlock Holmes who is unable or unwilling to detect the clues that his girlfriend is cheating on him.

There have been many other adaptations over the years. Practically every supporting character from Doyle's stories has been featured in their own spin-off at one point or another. There is an obvious, enduring appeal in these characters and stories. What are your favorite Sherlock adaptations?

Written by Brett on June 24, 2013


Sarah on June 24, 2013


hey Brett, Have you read the ones by Anthony Boucher? My favorite is The case of the Baker Street irregulars
-- but DPL does not own them....any more.


I have not read them, Sarah. 'The Case of the Baker St. Irregulars' sounds interesting. Thanks for the recommendation!

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