This is the reason I love SHERLOCK HOLMES #detectives #mondayblogs

People often ask me what inspired me to write a female Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I actually got the idea while walking across the street from my office job to lunch one day. It was a typical rainy day in Portland, and I was thinking about lunch, when bam! The idea hit me right in the middle of the street. I came to a dead stop until someone honked. Here’s the thing: I’ve always loved detective novels. And crime. And I’m a woman. I loved Nancy Drew, but I didn’t start with her. I started with Sherlock Holmes.

As a kid, we had a small library of books in one bookcase. Most of the books had come from the town dump (we recycled even then). One of those books was The Complete Sherlock Holmes. I read every one of those stories and novels. More than once. I fancied myself a young, female Sherlock. I looked for clues everywhere. I solved mysteries around the house (what happened to the last piece of cheese? Where did my one sock go? It was a mystery because we didn’t have a dryer.) Mom had a pipe collection, including a Meerschaum, so I sometimes stuck that in my mouth as I paced the floor.

Sherlock Holmes, although fictional, was based on a professor A. Conan Doyle had at university. Sherlock’s amazing powers of observation led him to solve all sorts of mysteries. Today, New Scotland Yard even has a computer system called HOLMES, and a training program called “Elementary” after Sherlock’s well-known statement to Dr. Watson.

I have other favorite detectives in crime novels today, including Ian Rankin’s John Rebus, Val McDermid’s Carol Jordan and Tony Hill, Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford, Ellen Hart’s Jane Lawless. Who are your favorite detectives? Your favorite mystery authors?



7 thoughts on “This is the reason I love SHERLOCK HOLMES #detectives #mondayblogs

  1. I like this image of you as a young detective, pipe and all. I also remember my discovery of Sherlock Holmes and the very room I read the first few stories in. I immediately started writing detective stories of my own and had my own detective. I still have one of these stories in my little girl handwriting. It’s not very good at all, but I had passion for what I was doing, thanks to Sherlock.

      • That’s sad. Alice threw away a big fat folder of my stories before one of our many moves. She later regretted it, but they’re long gone now. I think Garrison Keillor has a piece about losing a briefcase of stories on a train and always believing ever afterwards that those were, of course, his very best stories.

    • re stories long gone … I don’t by any stretch of the imagination believe anything I wrote before 21 was among my best work. My winning essay I wrote at age 12 was there though, and possibly a copy of my first poem publication at 14. Mothers throw out everything when they clean, don’t they? Mine did. I did too.

  2. Go you with the female SH! Love it. I still read series by men. I’m a sucker for the series with amazing character. Harlen Coben writing the Myron Bolitar series. Robert Crais with the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series. Michael Connelly’s Bosch books, and Laurence Block’s — all of his series are amazing.

    • Thanks for your comments, Sue! I forgot to say my Sherlock (Shirley Combs and Dr. Mary Watson) are set in modern day Oregon. Not all women mystery writers have female detectives, by any means. If you haven’t read Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford series, give yourself the treat. She was the queen of crime novels. Bar none.

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