Sherlock & Sons

I grew up on Sherlock Holmes—the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories and all those movies on TV. I was particularly fond of Basil Rathbone and now I’m a fan of the newest incarnation starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the master detective. Some of the old movies were dramatizations of the original stories, but others took Holmes & Watson out of their period so they could fight Nazis during WWII. Those movies stretched credibility, but they were still fun to watch on TV when I was a child.

By the time ‘The Seven-Per-Cent Solution’ by Nicholas Meyer was published in 1974 and the movie came out in 1976 (with a stellar cast including: Nicol Williamson as Sherlock Holmes, Robert Duvall as Dr. Watson, Laurence Olivier as Professor Moriarty, Alan Arkin as Sigmund Freud, plus Joel Grey, Vanessa Redgrave, etc.) fiction using the familiar cast of characters, but having little or nothing else in common with the Arthur Conan Doyle stories, were becoming common place.

Right now there’s a resurgence of Sherlocks. Not just in movies and on TV, but in many books too. I’ve read quite a few. They are difficult for this Sherlock fan to resist. Some of the better ones include: ‘Art in the Blood’ by Bonnie Macbird and ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Chilford Ripper’ by Roger Jaynes. Some are absolutely dreadful and as cringe worthy as some of the bad, old movies. Still I keep trying.

Even while I’m enjoying a new Sherlock, I often wonder how the original creator would feel about the variations on his theme. Would Sir Arthur Conan Doyle approve of the new generations of Sherlocks? How would he feel about being the creator of a franchise?


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of a franchise.


  1. I read somewhere that Sir Arthur absolutely hated Sherlock Holmes by the time they had both become famous, so I suspect he would loathe all the new stuff.

    Personally, I LOVE the Benedict Cumberbath interpretation of Holmes but I’m not too impressed with all the others. Luckily they’ll disappear soon enough.

    • Candy Korman

      I read somewhere that he grew so tired of Sherlock he killed the character off!

      But maybe, he’d enjoy the “sons” (and daughters) of his original characters? The manifestations of the great detective keep multiplying whether he would like it or not, in a fun house mirror of multiples. I wonder if he could wrap his head around the phenomenon that he started with a few short stories?