Welcome to Day 1 of the SECRETS, SPIES & SHERLOCK BLOG TOUR, featuring two exciting new middle grade mystery series: Sherlock, Lupin &Me: The Dark Lady by Irene Adler and Secrets & Spies: Treason by Jo Macauley. Each stop on the 2-week tour will feature fun posts and a chance to win a set of finished copies! Today’s post features The Dark Lady.
Sherlock Holmes (and Irene Adler) in Pop Culture
Unlike many now-iconic characters that only gained fame long after their first introduction, Sherlock Holmes has been a sensation since he was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887. Ironically, Doyle himself was one of the few people who weren’t enamored with the detective — killing him off in 1893 before public outcry forced him to bring Holmes back.
The homages started in Doyle’s own time, during the period between Holmes’ death and subsequent resurrection, dubbed “The Great Hiatus”. However, his recent resurgence in popularity has taken one of the most well-known figures in literary history in some surprising new directions. Here is a list for those who just can’t get enough of the beloved sleuth.
1994 - The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King: In 1994, Laurie R. King reintroduced Holmes many years after the original stories, when he is 54 years old and retired from detecting, instead taking up beekeeping. The young protagonist of the novel, 15-year-old Mary Russell, stumbles upon Holmes in a field, surprising the aging detective with an intellect that rivals his own. Inspired, Holmes takes on Russell as his apprentice and returns to detecting with her at his side. Russell herself has since become an important figure in the extended Holmes canon, with comparisons to the other important female figure, “The Woman” herself, Irene Adler — the only woman to ever outwit Holmes, appearing only one time in the original series, in “A Scandal in Bohemia”.
2004 - House, M.D.: It may come as a surprise that the popular medical drama is based on a series of mysteries, but the show has more similarities to its source material than meets the eye. In fact, Doyle based Holmes on Joseph Bell, a doctor he knew in medical school, so it’s fitting that the detective has come full circle — back to his origins. The show follows misanthropic genius Dr. Greg House and his team at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, as they cure bizarre illnesses that the average doctor can’t diagnose. There are the obvious parallels — House/Holmes, Wilson/Watson, House’s vicodin addiction in place of Holmes’ cocaine use, and most blatant of all, House’s address at 221B Baker Street. The show’s creator, David Shore, is a professed Holmes fan who was intrigued by Holmes’ indifference to his clients, a trait obviously paralleled in House, who only cares about the puzzle and not the person. House uses the method of deductive reasoning invented by Holmes — “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” (“The Sign of the Four”). An homage to Irene Adler makes an appearance in the Pilot as Rebecca Adler, House’s first patient of the series, and a man named Moriarty, named after Holmes’ greatest nemesis, shoots House in a later episode.
2009 — Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr: In 2009, Guy Ritchie took a unusual stance on one of the most brilliant minds in Western literary canon — by casting him as an action hero. The original Holmes is certainly no weakling (casually unbending a solid iron poker in “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”), but the blockbuster film shows Holmes participating in an underground bare knuckles boxing match, performing death-defying stunts on precarious scaffolding, and landing himself in jail. Irene Adler however, remains similar to her original character — working as both accomplice and adversary to Holmes, while striving toward her own ends. The film takes some cues from the supernatural overtones of The Hound of the Baskervilles as Holmes, Watson and Adler investigate a series of ritual murders. The sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was released in 2011, reimagining the infamous Doyle story “The Final Problem” in which Holmes apparently meets his doom.
2010 — BBC Sherlock: In 2010, Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat rejuvenated the immortal character in the BBC’s Sherlock. Sherlock adapts some of the most well-known short stories to the present day, following Sherlock Holmes and John Watson as 30-somethings in modern day London. The series pays frequent homage to the source material, turning Holmes’s pipe into Sherlock’s cigarette habit, making the “three pipe problem” a “three (nicotine) patch problem”. Meanwhile, John is still just returning from the Afghanistan war — albeit a different one. The main twist is Sherlock’s use of modern technology — from texting to GPS — to solve crimes, and visually presenting his renowned mind as a computer, crunching the facts and figures as he sorts through the data. Irene Adler once again appears as “The Woman”, recapturing her role as Holmes’ adversary while paying homage to the longstanding question surrounding their relationship — was Holmes in love with her, or merely in awe?
2012 — Elementary: In 2012, CBS launched a series similar to Sherlock, set in modern day New York and following recovering addict Sherlock Holmes and his companion, Dr. Joan Watson. Making Watson female is not the only major change Elementary made, though it is an unprecedented one. It’s relationship to the original stories is mostly circumstantial, having more in common with police procedurals than the original stories. Elementary is less an homage and more a reimagining, giving the timeless characters new cases rather than modernizing old ones, while giving a nod to the canon with some “easter egg” quotes and references to the original.
2014 — Sherlock, Lupin and Me: The Dark Lady by Irene Adler: Unlike the many adaptations that have come before, The Dark Lady brings Sherlock Holmes to a new audience — young readers. Introducing Holmes and Irene Adler as children, readers receive a first-hand account from Irene Adler herself as the young detectives are caught up in a web of crime, investigating the mysterious disappearance of a diamond necklace that coincides with a body washing ashore in 1870s France. The Dark Lady not only reimagines the notorious rivals as childhood friends, but also pulls from a different canon, incorporating Arsène Lupin from the short stories of Maurice Leblanc. Leblanc was a contemporary of Doyle, creating Holmes’ antithesis in the “gentleman thief” Lupin — a character as beloved to the Francophone world as Holmes is to English countries, and setting the precedent for the present day popularity of films and shows such as Ocean’s Eleven, White Collar and Catch Me if You Can.
BUY IT NOW LINKS:
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/treason-jo-macauley/1116353065
The Dark Lady:
Enter below for a chance to win a copy of Sherlock Holmes’ latest adventure in The Dark Lady, as well as a copy of Treason by Jo Macauley!
***Stop by I Read Banned Books tomorrow for the next stop on the SECRETS, SPIES & SHERLOCK BLOG TOUR and another chance to win!***
Secrets, Spies & Sherlock Blog Tour Schedule:
February 24th: The Dark Lady at The Write Path
February 25th: Treason at I Read Banned Books
February 26th: The Dark Lady at Buried in Books
February 27th: Treason at MomLoves2Read
February 28th: The Dark Lady at Akossiwa Ketoglo
March 3rd: Treason at GeoLibrarian
March 4th: The Dark Lady at Bookshelf Banter
March 5th: Treason at Candace’s Book Blog
March 6th: The Dark Lady at Through the Looking Glass
March 7th: Treason at Unconventional Librarian