Celebrating the real Sherlock Holmes

Special to the HeraldDecember 2, 2012 

You may not recognize the name, but you'll certainly know the character he inspired. Born 175 years ago today, Dr. Joseph Bell was the real-life inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Detective Holmes is one of the most popular literary figures in history; countless people have enjoyed the books since he first appeared in print in 1887. You don't have to be a detective to find great stories (in book and movie form) at your Manatee County libraries.

"The SherlockHolmes Scrapbook" by Peter Haining is a unique collection of newspaper articles, photographs, memoirs, and illustrations that reflect the man, the criminal investigator, and his faithful assistant. In this souvenir edition, the reader will find some interesting items about the famous detective partnership.

"The SherlockHolmes Collection" features the five surviving episodes of the BBC's celebrated 1960s Sherlock Holmes series. Fans will definitely enjoy these captivating episodes courtesy of A&E Television Network.

"Garment of Shadows" is the latest in an acclaimed mystery series by Laurie King. In this newest thrilling adventure, racing against time to prevent a catastrophe, Sherlock Holmes becomes separated from his wife, Mary Russell. She awakens to the sound of soldiers pounding on her door, blood on her hands, in a state of amnesia. Meanwhile, Holmes learns his wife has gone missing, and as he searches for her, he is pulled into the growing war between France and Spain.

Immediately preceding "Garment of Shadows" in King's series is "The Pirate King." The story takes readers into the frenetic world of silent films, where the pirates are played by real buccaneers, and the shooting isn't all done with cameras. Undercover for Scotland Yard, Mary Russell is sent to chaperone a 13-year-old actress on the set of the cinema extravaganza staring England's king of the silent film industry, Randolph Fflytte. As the movie make-believe becomes real terror, Russell and Holmes may experience a final fadeout.

"Midsomer Murders" are based on the novels by Caroline Graham. Filmed in the lush English countryside, the charming and unflappable detective Tom Barnaby and his assistant have their work cut out for them as they use their wits and intuition to unravel complex crime cases in the idyllic villages of Midsomer County. This collection presents all seven episodes of the series' seventh season.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html.

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