Smash hit BBC mystery series Sherlock is filming its much-anticipated fourth season, set to air around Christmas this year, according to Martin Freeman. Variations on the Holmes detective stories fiction aren’t new, but now young adult novels inspired by Sherlock and the canon are emerging in full force.
The Jackaby Series (Jackaby and Beastly Bones) by William Ritter – When Jackaby was first published in 2014, early reviews compared it to iconic series like Sherlock, Doctor Who, and Supernatural, often all three at once. If you’re a SuperWhoLockian or even just a casual fan of historical paranormal mystery series, William Ritter’s Jackaby novels are a great way to fill the Sherlock void. Set in New England in the 19th century, the action-packed Jackaby and its 2015 sequel, Beastly Bones, star an eccentric American detective of the supernatural (Jackaby) and his British assistant, Abigail. Ritter’s eye for historical detail makes the period come alive, and the friendship between Jackaby and Abigail makes for a compelling emotional story. This duo is not unlike Holmes and Watson with their chemistry driving the narrative forward and bring a human element to the supernatural-laced stories.
The Lock & Mori Series (Lock & Mori and Mind Games) by Heather W. Petty – This mystery series, which starts with Lock & Mori, is set in modern-day London. Two teens, Sherlock “Lock” Holmes and Miss James “Mori” Moriarty, must team up to solve a brutal murder. Lock challenges Mori to solve the murder before he does, setting off a competition between these two “frenemies” to prevent another death. Lock says they must share everything to help solve the case, but Mori is holding out, keeping secrets of her own. Can they really work together? Or is one of them the real enemy? This is a great novel (and the beginning of the series, with Mind Games set to be released in 2016) that looks at the relationship between Holmes and his arch-rival, James Moriarty. Most Holmes-inspired novels focus on the dynamics between Watson and Holmes rather than the other characters.
The Young Sherlock Holmes series (Death Cloud and more) by Andrew Lane – This series also features a young Sherlock Holmes. Set in 1868, Death Cloud follows teenaged Sherlock as he learns the ropes to become a detective skilled in deductive reasoning. His mentor is an eccentric American logician named Amyus Crowe. For those Sherlock viewers who have always wondered how Holmes became as brilliant as he is, the Young Sherlock Holmes series (currently eight novels) traces our consulting detective in a master and apprentice education. This series is a good pick for anyone who wants to learn more about the foundation of Holmes’ methods and also for any readers looking for exciting adventures, clever mysteries, and, yes, a bit of romance, even for the normally “not really my area” Holmes.
Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham – Okay, so enough guy detectives, how about a female sleuth? Although it’s not acknowledged to be inspired by Sherlock or Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories, Jennifer Latham’s Scarlett Undercover definitely resembles them. Scarlett is the extremely bright and intelligent teen detective and narrator of this mystery novel. She gets pulled into a crime that is more than just a forgettable “who dunnit.” Scarlett investigates a young boy who starts acting “weird” in the aftermath of a tragedy. From there, themes of identity, diversity (Scarlett is Muslim-American), and patriotism intersect with a driving, unputdownable mystery. If you are looking for a female detective who is as sharp and brilliant as Holmes and a novel that has plenty of substance to chew on, Scarlett Undercover is a great book to devour. Just be sure to clear your schedule ahead of time.