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Reading list: 221B Baker Street and Beyond

Created by: Themis-Athena's Garden of Books

My tentative reading list for "Summer of Sherlock" 2019 -- and probably beyond:

A mix of books by and about Arthur Conan Doyle (mostly, but not only Holmes-related), as well as a few books by ACD's and Sherlock Holmes's contemporaries and competitors.

I've also set aside the two "Rivals of Sherlock Holmes" DVD sets featuring some of the era's other (then: celebrated) detectives as portrayed by a series of well-known British actors, released a few years ago. And it just might be time to rewatch the complete Holmes series starring Jeremy Brett.

Books: 50

Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection - Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection
Note: I started to listen to this quite a while ago and loved it, but RL intervened. So even though I've already gotten through the first two novels, for "Summer of Sherlock" I think I'm going to set the clock back to zero and start all over ... and hopefully get through the entire beauty that this is in one go this time around.
The Return of Sherlock Holmes - Derek Jacobi, Arthur Conan Doyle
The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Note: "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" and "His Last Bow" -- the final entries in the Derek Jacobi recordings of ACD's complete Holmes canon that I have yet to listen to. Can't ever have too much Sherlock in your life, can you? Especially not with readers such as Stephen Fry, Derek Jacobi ...
His Last Bow - Derek Jacobi, Arthur Conan Doyle
His Last Bow
Sherlock Holmes: Three Tales of Intrigue - Edward Hardwicke, Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes: Three Tales of Intrigue
Note: ... Edward Hardwicke, the one and only Watson ever. This is one of three "three tales of ..." outtake from a series of recordings made a few decades ago; since I very much enjoyed the two other outtakes, I have no doubt I'll enjoy this one as well. Includes "The Crooked Man," "The Greek Interpreter," and one of my all-time favorite Holmes stories, "The Naval Treaty." ("Mrs. Hudson has risen to the occasion. Her cuisine is a little limited, but she has as good an idea of breakfast as a Scotswoman ...")
The Essential Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Arthur Conan Doyle
The Essential Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Note: "Essential" has all the makings of a vast overstatement, but it's a recording featuring (inter alia) David Timson, Tim Pigott-Smith and Rupert Degas, and includes a biography (by Hesketh Pearson), "The Speckled Band", an excerpt from "The Lost World" and ACD's defence of the Cottingley Fairies. That's enough varied contents to give it a shot, even in case I don't end up enjoying all of it.
The Mystery of Cloomber - Arthur Conan Doyle
The Mystery of Cloomber
Note: This has been sitting on my TBR forever -- "Summer of Sherlock" sounds like the perfect occasion to finally get around to reading it.
Micah Clarke - Henry C. Pitz, Arthur Conan Doyle
Micah Clarke
Note: Ditto this book.
The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars - Anthony Boucher, Otto Penzler
The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars
Note: Not so much a Holmes pastiche but a six degrees of separation sort of sequel, set in the world of American fans of the Holmes books. It comes highly recommended by MbD, so how can I resist?
Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès - Maurice Leblanc
Arsène Lupin contre Herlock Sholmès
Note: ACD sued, so Leblanc had to change the name of Arsène Lupin's opponent. Time to find out what the fuss was all about.
Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook - Howard Hopkins, Don Roff, Will Murray, Martin Powell, Matthew Baugh, Martin Gately, Win Scott Eckert, Joe Gentile, Chris Sequiera, Barbara Hambly
Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook
Note: I find I'm disappointed with most Holmes pastiches, but I'm willing to give this volume and / or the one listed below at least a fair shot. If they fail to come up to scratch, however, these may very well be my final forays into the world of pastiches.
My Sherlock Holmes: Untold Stories of the Great De... - Michael Kurland, Richard A. Lupoff, Michael Mallory, George Alec Effinger, Barbara Hambly, Mel Gilden, Norman Schreiber, Gary Lovisi, Gerard Dole, Linda Robertson, Cara Black, Peter Tremayne, C.D. Ewing
My Sherlock Holmes: Untold Stories of the Great Detective
Arthur & George - Julian Barnes
Arthur & George
Note: I probably wouldn't revisit this one, but there's a recording by Nigel Anthony that I'm interested in. We'll see.
The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes - Marcel Theroux
The Confessions of Mycroft Holmes
Note: Another book that's been sitting on my TBR forever. The connections to the Holmes canon are tenuous; yet, there seem to be certain parallels between the MC's brother and Mycroft Holmes. (I hope that doesn't make the MC too obvious a play on Sherlock himself.) Again, we'll see.
Unpopular Opinions - Dorothy L. Sayers
Unpopular Opinions
Note: Contains a series of essays on Holmes. Buddy read with BT and "a reading life" is in the making -- yey!
Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle - Daniel Stashower
Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle
Note: *The* most acclaimed of the many Holmes biographies out there, and it actually promises to be interested in *all* of the man's life, not merely the spiritualism bit (which it also seems to be setting into some proper context). Really looking forward to this one.
Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters - Daniel Stashower, Jon Lellenberg, Charles Foley, Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters
Note: Since I'll be reading Stashower's biography, it only seemed logical to also acquire the volume of ACD's letters edited by him as a companion read.
Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A Life of the Wor... - William S. Baring-Gould
Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A Life of the World's First Consulting Detective
Note: Published decades ago, but still considered *the* definitive biography of Holmes, with the entire canon as well as a plethora of other works as sources.
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes - Vincent Starrett ( Introduction by Michael Murphy)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
Note: I haven't seen this one yet and I doubt how much it can add to Baring-Gould, but I guess I'll just have to find out!
The Travelers' Companion To The London Of Sherlock... - David L. Hammer
The Travelers' Companion To The London Of Sherlock Holmes
Note: Planning candy for my next trip to London -- regardless how many of these places I've already been to in other contexts. (And who knows, this one is bound to contain the odd true nugget, too.)
Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett As Sherlock Holme... - David Stuart Davies
Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett As Sherlock Holmes
Note: *The* quintessential, one and only Holmes -- and a great actor all around. R.I.P., Mr. Brett, you are very much missed.
The Baker Street File: A Guide to the Appearance a... - Michael Cox
The Baker Street File: A Guide to the Appearance and Habits of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson
Note: The inside scoop of the TV series starring Jeremy Brett.
Lady Molly Of Scotland Yard - Emmuska Orczy
Lady Molly Of Scotland Yard
Note: Moving on to ACD's / Holmes's contemporaries and competitors -- one of the earliest women sleuths. Though I do hope she'll be a bit less of a one trick pony than "The Old Man in the Corner" and his friend, the lady journalist turned out to be.
The Lodger - Marie Belloc-Lowndes
The Lodger
Note: Immortalized on screen courtesy of Hitchcock and Ivor Novello -- time to finally explore the literary original, too.
The Female Detective - Andrew Forrester
The Female Detective
Note: *The* first ever female detective in literary history. Props for being ahead of her time as far as her occupation is concerned, though going by BT's and Tigus's responses, sadly very much a creature of her time in other respects. Still, no reason not to finally make her acquaintance.
The Notting Hill Mystery - Charles Warren Adams
The Notting Hill Mystery
Note: Leaving aside Wilkie Collins's books and parts of Dickens's "Bleak House", the first English detective novel. Props to the British Library for unearthing it and making it part of its series of reissued classic crime novels.
A Taste for Honey - H.F. Heard, Otto Penzler
A Taste for Honey
Note: On the other side of the pond, Otto Penzler's American Crime Classics series is tapping into essentially the same market; in part also with books set in England (Head was born and raised British and emigrated to the U.S. with his friend, W.H. Auden). This one is described as a satirical take on Sherlock Holmes ... hmmm.
Death from a Top Hat - Clayton Rawson
Death from a Top Hat
Note: Clayton Rawson's "Great Merlini" was celebrated in his day, but has since been forgotten -- even when I started my foray into classic / Golden Age mystery novels some 2 years ago, I was still having trouble finding affordable editions. I'm not sure how much farther our acquaintance will go after this book, but I'm definitely happy to finally meet "The Great Merlini" for myself.
The Red Thumb Mark - R. Austin Freeman
The Red Thumb Mark
Note: By contrast, Austin Freeman's "Dr. Thorndyke" novels never went entirely out of print, and we've met once before (in "The Eye of Osiris"). This is where the series started, however, so now that there seems to be a renewed effort to republish the series as a whole, the moment may have come to renew our acquaintance.
The Complete Adventures of Romney Pringle - R. Austin Freeman, Clifford Ashdown, John J. Pitcairn
The Complete Adventures of Romney Pringle
Note: Romney Pringle, like Dr. Thorndyke, owes his existence to R. Austin Freemann -- in a cooperation with John J. Pitcairn; writing together as Clifford Ashdown. A conman masquerading as a cycling literary agent, he may not be entirely my kind of thing (there is only so much I can take of Raffles and Arsène Lupin at any given time, too), but he definitely does qualify as one of Holmes's better-known competitors, so he'd be missing from this list if I didn't include him. And who knows, he may yet surprise me after all ...
The Thorpe Hazell Mysteries: Complete Series - Victor L. Whitechurch
The Thorpe Hazell Mysteries: Complete Series
Note: Mr. Hazell the railway detective and I, by contrast, have met before (courtesy of a Benedict Cumberbatch audio collection) -- but while I'm at it, I may as well revisit the print version of the stories and read those not included in the audio. They're short enough as they are, and Mr. Hazell is definitely one of the nicer Golden Age detectives; even if he can get a bit "technical" at times. And, sign of the times and how far we've come ... back then, vegetarianism was considered one of those "eccentricities" that make for interesting attributes of a fictional detective -- these days, that would hardly make him stand out anymore.
Tales of Mean Streets - Arthur Morrison
Tales of Mean Streets
Note: The gritty side of turn-of-the-century London -- this should appeal to the noir fan in me.
The Best Martin Hewitt Detective Stories - Arthur Morrison
The Best Martin Hewitt Detective Stories
Note: And another series by Morrison -- this one, featuring a detective who even shared Holmes's publication outlet in the Strand Magazine.
The Bravo of London - Ernest Bramah, Tony Medawar
The Bravo of London
Note: Another Strand Magazine fellow of Holmes's and arguably one of his best-known rivals way back when, blind supersleuth Max Carrados and I have met courtesy of an audio collection narrated expertly by Stephen Fry. I'm not actually sure this novel-length adventure of his is going to end up being one of my favorites, but what with Collins Crime Club so obligingly reprinting it, I may as well give it a shot!
The Perfect Crime; aka The Big Bow Mystery - Israel Zangwill
The Perfect Crime; aka The Big Bow Mystery
Note: This, by contrast, is one of the books I've been looking forward to reading for quite a while. So again, props to Collins Crime Club for now making that an affordable possibility!
The Grell Mystery - Frank Froest, Tony Medawar
The Grell Mystery
Note: This one, I knew absolutely nothing about before embarking on my exploration of Golden Age crime fiction, and again I am not entirely sure how it will ultimately fare with me. But I am definitely intrigued enough to give it try.
The Leavenworth Case - Anna Katharine Green
The Leavenworth Case
Note: Another mystery (this one, from the othe side of the pond) I've wanted to read for the longest time -- so much so that I actually bought it twice. High time to prevent a third purchase by actually reading the darned thing at last!
The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart
The Circular Staircase
Note: Ditto (albeit minus the double purchase) for this entry by one of the other great American "mothers" of the genre. I loved her novella "Locked Doors" but had decidedly less use for "The Red Lamp", so chances this one is going to fare well with me are about even ... only one way to find out what it's going to be!
The Blotting Book - E. F. Benson
The Blotting Book
Note: Speaking of genuine literary discoveries, though, did you know that E.F. Benson also wrote two mysteries? (I didn't, either, before starting on this foray into the beginnings of crime fiction.) I'm very curious how they will turn out.
The Luck of the Vails - E.F. Benson
The Luck of the Vails
Casebook of Sexton Blake - Various
Casebook of Sexton Blake
Note: A creature of many makers, Sexton Blake was originally a contemporary of Holmes but was kept alive by new writer after new writer, way beyond his natural lifespan. Some of his literary fathers include fairly prominent mystery writers of their days, so I am curious how he fares in comparison to Holmes ... and his (original) other contemporaries.
The Triumphs of Eugene Valmont - Robert Barr
The Triumphs of Eugene Valmont
Note: One of the detectives I became aware of because of the "Rivals of Sherlock Holmes" TV series; a French detective living in England (though if Dame Agatha is to be believed, *not* the inspriation for Hercule Poirot). One of the books into which I'm going absolutely blindly, just curious how we'll be faring in each other's company.
The Amazing Judgment / Mr. Laxworthy's Adventures - E. Phillips Oppenheim, Daniel Paul Morrison
The Amazing Judgment / Mr. Laxworthy's Adventures
Note: Conversely, Mr. Laxworthy is an Englishman who has settled in the South of France (and apparently can be seen flitting all over the Mediterranean). Phillips Oppenheim was an extremely prolific writer and I had heard his name before, however not the one of this particular detective. The setting of the novels, even if nothing else, holds considerable promise.
Secrets of the Foreign Office - William Le Queux
Secrets of the Foreign Office
Note: Another internationally-minded sleuth -- this one probably also qualifies for "Summer of Spies Redux".
The Mystery of a Hansom Cab - Fergus Hume
The Mystery of a Hansom Cab
Note: Staying in "forn parts" (as Granny Weatherwax would say), this novel from Australia was one of the most influential mysteries of its day and is even credited with having influenced ACD. Reason enough to take a look at it!
The Thinking Machine - Jacques Futrelle, Harlan Ellison
The Thinking Machine
Note: Speaking of influences, one American creation clearly inspired by Holmes was Prof. Van Dusen, "The Thinking Machine" -- an armchair detective if there ever was one and Nero Wolfe's major predecessor (along, of course, with Poe's M. Dupin). Let's see where exactly between his famous colleagues his "ratiocination" method places him.
The Problemist: The Complete Adventures of Thornle... - Clinton H. Stagg
The Problemist: The Complete Adventures of Thornley Colton, Blind Detective
Note: The American brother in spirit to Ernest Bramah's Max Carrados -- likewise inspired by Sherlock Holmes as much as M. Dupin.
The Benson Murder Case - S.S. Van Dine
The Benson Murder Case
Note: And of course we can't have a list on ACD's competitors without Mr. Van Dine -- whose Philo Vance I've encountered once before, in "The Kennel Murder Case", but I think I might as well go all the way back to the beginning and roll the series up from the first book onwards.
Detektiv Dagoberts Taten und Abenteuer. Band 1 - Balduin Groller
Detektiv Dagoberts Taten und Abenteuer. Band 1
Note: Finally, two detectives from Germany's neighboring countries: "Detektiv Dagobert" from turn-of-the-century Vienna ...
Wachmeister Studer - Friedrich Glauser
Wachmeister Studer
Note: ... and Wachtmeister (Sergeant) Studer from Switzerland!
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks - John Curran
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks
Note: And, by way of an honorary entry -- I mean, come on, how could I seriously NOT want to read this now that I've got my hands on the (gorgeously illustrated) hardcover edition?!


Excellent list! I also have (no surprise really) Bending the Willow. Arthur & George is one I started but DNF'd...I fell asleep so many times, it wasn't even funny anymore, so I took it back to the library.
Themis-Athena's Garden of Books
There's an audio version read by Nigel Anthony -- I figured I might as well give that one a shot. But this list contains more books than I think I'll be reading this summer anyway ... what with BL-opoly and Summer of Spies Redux, not to mention Around the World in 80 Books, I'll have my hands full juggling books even without Summer of Sherlock added into the mix!
Oh, I bet! :D


Sherlock Holmes Summer of Sherlock British Mysteries and Crime Fiction Mysteries and Crime Fiction Classics Detection Club Golden Age Mysteries

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