Sherlock Holmes' youthful appeal—July 16, 2010
I have always enjoyed reading mysteries, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories about the legendary Sherlock Holmes are among my favorites. I can remember reading these over and over when I was young.
Doyle was a nineteenth century British physician. His practice was initially not very successful, and he began writing stories while he waited for patients. Sherlock Holmes made his first appearance in “A Study in Scarlet” in 1887, and was partially modeled after Doyle’s former university professor Joseph Bell.
All of the original Sherlock Holmes stories are available at the library. However, there are also a number of other stories written for young people that tie in with these in different ways.
“Eye of the Crow” by Shane Peacock is written as a background story to the career of this fascinating fictional detective. In this first book in “The Boy Sherlock Holmes” series, we meet Sherlock at the age of 13 and find out how his career as a detective began.
Nancy Springer has written a series of mysteries about Enola Holmes, Sherlock’s much younger sister. In “The Case of the Missing Marquess,” the first book in the series, Enola’s mother has disappeared. Enola travels to London in disguise to try to find her mother while also eluding her older brother, who thinks he knows best how a Victorian lady should behave.
“The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas” by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin features the gang of homeless boys, the Baker Street Irregulars, who assisted Holmes in his crime solving. In this story they help Holmes solve the mysterious deaths of a family of circus tightrope walkers.
Robert Newman also uses these young boys who helped Holmes in his book, “The Case of the Baker Street Irregular.” Andrew is brought to London under mysterious circumstances by his tutor. When his tutor is kidnapped and he himself is threatened, Andrew seeks the help of Sherlock Holmes.
Donald J. Sobol has written a series about Encyclopedia Brown, who is referred to as “America’s 10-year-old Sherlock Holmes in sneakers.” In each of these books, Sobol presents a collection of short mysteries that Encyclopedia Brown solves, and the reader is challenged to figure out how he solved them. The solutions appear at the end of the book, but don’t peek until you’ve tried to solve them yourself!
For the very young reader, try “Sherlock Chick’s First Case” by Robert Quackenbush. Sherlock Chick hatches from his egg with a detective’s hat and magnifying glass and immediately sets out to find who has stolen the corn from the chickens’ feed bin.
If you enjoy mystery and detective stories, try the original Sherlock Holmes stories or some of these “spin-offs” available at the library.