Sherlock Holmes will never die as new writers, fans keep the detective alive and popular
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 4:01 AM
Learn more about the Afghanistan Perceivers, Tulsa’s Sherlock Society.
Sherlock Holmes is everywhere - television, film, new novels and stories, even plays and musicals.
The genre is "always popular, but it goes up and down," said Dean Clark, one of the founders of Tulsa's Sherlock Society, the Afghanistan Perceivers.
It seems the popularity of the detective and his sidekick and friend Dr. John Watson is on the upswing right now.
Two current television series set Holmes and Watson in modern times. "Sherlock" is set in London, and "Elementary" is set in New York and has a female Watson. There's also the film franchise starring Robert Downey Jr. as the incomparable sleuth and Jude Law as the ever-patient Watson that will likely spawn yet another movie.
A group of about 10 people gathered Tuesday night at the Broken Arrow Library to hear and talk about the resurgence of Holmes' popularity and the loyal fanbase that has sprung from Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous work.
There are at least 500 Sherlock societies in the world, Clark said. The first, the Baker Street Irregulars, started in New York in 1934. Now Japan and Russia have two of the largest Sherlock Holmes fan clubs in the world.
Doyle wrote 60 stories about Holmes and Watson, but since then tens of thousands more have been written by fans who wanted the adventures to continue.
Will Thomas, a mystery author and librarian at the Broken Arrow Library, has written his own Sherlock stories after joining the Afghanistan Perceivers when he was 17.
He remembers first reading Nicholas Meyer's "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution," which continued the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, in the 1970s.
"The top of my head blew off," Thomas said. "I thought, 'Oh, my God! We can continue the stories!' "
Holmes' popularity has only increased in recent years, Clark said.
"$158,500. That was the winning bid at Christie's in New York when they auctioned off one page (of the handwritten manuscript) from 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' " in December, he said. "The last time they auctioned off one page from 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' was in 2004, and it went for $78,000. The price of one page has doubled."
When people read Sherlock stories, it's easy to forget that they're fiction.
"It soon begins to feel like a biography and that Watson and Holmes are real," Clark said.
Holmes is easy to reinvent, Thomas said: "People like his eccentricities. Writers like his eccentricities. It's so easy to take a facet of Holmes and make a show around it."
Brooks Williamson, whose middle name happens to be Doyle, enjoys seeing the different incarnations of his favorite literary character.
"They're all true," Williamson said. "They're all manifestations of the genius of Sherlock Holmes."
Thomas said people will always be interested in the cases of Holmes and Watson.
"We'll still be seeing (Holmes) in 'House,' seeing it in 'Monk,' " he said. "They say Sherlock will never die. He's like a phoenix; he keeps being reborn."
Original Print Headline: New writers, fans keep Sherlock alive
Sara Plummer 918-581-8465
Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes Courtesy