Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Elementary, My Dear Cleveland

On Saturday, October 6, I will be taking part in a panel at Bouchercon, the huge national mystery convention which this year is being held just up the road from us in Cleveland. The name of the panel is "Elementary, My Dear Watson." Our task is to discuss how Sherlock Holmes is still influencing fiction today.

The other panelists, all authors, are a stellar team that I am honored to be included on:
  • Leslie S. Klinger
  • Michael Robertson
  • Laurie R. King
  • Sara Paretsky
  • Daniel Stashower
If you haven't read their books, stop and do that right now. I'm sure each of them will have something significant to say. If I'm going to make a real contribution to their enlightened discourse, I'll need your help.

So how about it?

It's easy to name how such Golden Age mystery writers as Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, John Dickson Carr, Rex Stout, and so forth were influenced by Sherlock Holmes. But how about modern authors? Please send me -- soon! -- some examples of people writing today or recently who have been influenced by Sherlock Holmes.

Just to make it harder, pastiche writers don't count, unless you are referring to their other works which are not pastiches!

Thanks for your help. 


  1. Just a few thoughts: I think as a crime writer, its amlost impossible NOT to be affected by the crime novels one once read (or any other book, as it takes up space in our brains, is part of our memorioes and experiences, and thus influences us).
    My theory is that most detective novel writers will be influenced by Holmes in one way or the other. I found the first Inspector Monk novel by Anna Perry quite influenced by Holmes. I am, too, very much influenced by him. I think, the common (urks, whats the word) opinion? notion?
    is that if you want a very smart detective, male or female, you ALWAYS think of Sherlock Holmes first. Reach for the best, so to speak.
    I hope that helped?

  2. And MAN would I like to be there, too!

  3. Hmmm...This just makes me realize how much I don't know about really early detective fiction, lol! The first thing I thought of, though, was the tradition of the detective who, shall we say, overindulges in a substance to handle some kind of inner turmoil, be it mental or emotional. Generally the substance is alcohol, but that's only because it's pretty much the only thing that's legal. But how many fictional cops and detective can you think of who are either active alcoholics, or who carry an AA chip with them? Dozens. So I think the idea that the hero can be in some way dysfunctional, yet able to work past that to solve the crime is a powerful trend in mystery fiction, and one that SH helped to pioneer.

    (Leah Guinn)

  4. Here are a couple more...
    Constant smoking, or "trying to quit," which is almost every cop/detective ever, lol! And the character with a war background. With Doyle, it's Watson, but a lot of cops in books I've read have been in Vietnam...although that's probably going to shift to the Gulf at some point. I'm not very familiar with anything done mid-century, with the exception of Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh, but it would be interesting to know if those characters ever mention a background in WWI, II, or Korea (for Americans).

    Oh, and dysfunctional personal lives. They hardly ever have wives, husbands, or happy families. There are plenty of exes, and girlfriends who don't work out, and female detectives/cops tend to be commitment phobes, or have failed marriages/relationships. Unless they're total loners, they lean most heavily on a partner or small circle of friends, who may not resemble Watson, but performs the Watson function of being a stabilizing influence.

    Oh! Just thinking--you know obvious it is that P&C's Pendergast is a Southern Gothic version of Holmes and Vinnie is Watson? Well, what about Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware (Holmes...not emotionally, but in the role of consultant) and Milo (Not exactly Lestrade/Watson, but the cop who calls on him for help with the more unusual stuff)?

    Leah Guinn(again)

  5. Helpful comments -- keep 'em coming!

  6. Hum... I don't know about that dysfunctionality stuff. It has been introduced by the BBC Sherlock and amplified by Elementary (it seems, have never seen it). I didnt perceive the "old" Sherlock as dysfunctional. He had no wife/lover, but hey! Look at the Victorian times! Had it been me, I would have stayed single. Women weren't expected to actually THINK, god forbid to receive much of a higher education. So whom should Holmes have married? Even if he had been homosexual (which I don't think, as Doyle seemed to be very heterosexual), being gay was forbidden by law and punished with jail (look at Oscar Wilde).
    I think Laurie King described this very nicely in her "Beekeeper's Apprentice". Holmes was never dysfunctional, he has just not found anyone worth talking to (in depth).
    And lets be honest, if we would compare our western "civilized" culture with that of the Kung! in Africa, we all would be very dysfunctional.

    There is another book I can put on the list, Dan. It's "The Yard" by Alex Grecian. There's a morgue doctor (forgot his name) who is very observant and intelligent. In my opinion he is very reminiscent of Holmes.

    But I must confess - I know very little about Holmes. NEVER read Doyle until last December and don't consider myself a fan (sorry).