Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sherlock Holmes Adaptations That Don't Make Me Root For the Murderer (read at once if convenient. If inconvenient, read anyway.)

Throughout the history of the world, when someone says the word mystery or detective, usually a famous one comes to mind. That's right, the Hardy Boys. (kidding) Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, the world seems to think that when writing a retelling of the famous tales, they should write the same story. Let me demonstrate:
Pick a gender for your MC:
- Sherlock is a girl. That's your only option.

Sidekick:
- If Sherlock is a girl, Watson has to be a boy, and they need romantic tension.

Villain:
- Moriarty/Irene Adler (but like the BBC Sherlock Irene). 

Setting:
- Um, is this a trick question? Modern-day London. Always. It's even better if Watson is vacationing there, and he doesn't know who Sherlock is or the baggage she comes with. 

Conclusion
- Everything is solved, and Sherlock and Watson are probably smooching because Watson finally broke through Sherlock's emotional walls. 

There you go. A best-selling Sherlock retelling. You're welcome.*

*I am generalizing quite a bit, but I have yet to find a Sherlock adaptation that has met all of my sky high expectations. 

What I Would Like to See
  • Sherlock and Watson being swapped. I want to see Watson calling the shots because people respond to his kindness. I want Sherlock to be smart in the background, Watson winning crimes and taking down bad guys because people will tell anything to a kind smile and a cup of tea. 
  • Maybe a normal retelling, but about one of Sherlock's lesser known adversaries! You know, not every retelling has to focus on the favorite. (I know he stole our hearts. I know.)

  • Image result for moriarty gifs
    But maybe we could pick a new villain? Please? Thanks bro.
  • Both Sherlock and Watson being female and running around the city like crime-solving BFFs. 
But apparently we don't live in a perfect world, so we have to settle for what we do have (and ignore the Cardboard retellings. Pretend they don't exist. Denial is a wonderful thing*).

*I am not going to lie to you. I originally wrote De nile until I realised that when I wrote it that way, I wasn't condoning refusal of something's existence, I was appreciating the largest river in Africa. But yes, I do think that de Nile is a wonderful thing. 


Some Sherlock Adaptations I Didn't Despise

Image result for enola holmes 

OMG, MEMORIES. Enola Holmes was my BFF for a year or so way back when I was still running around the woods behind our house all by myself (which is a recipe for safety as you know). Her name backwards is literally Alone. What kind of mother would name their child Alone? That's like getting a pet and naming it Dinner (which I would never do, but my brother did try to do with various rabbits that we owned. THE HORROR). If my memory serves me correctly (which it probably doesn't because Dory and I are second-cousins. I think), the first book was actually my least favorite because all the others are way more fun. There is:
  • Secret flower languages.
  • Using the deathtraps that were corsets to one's own advantage. 
  • Fighting the patriarchy. 
  • An actually competent detective who isn't simultaneously a jerk. #goals
  • Defending herself but also accepting help from others. Thank goodness for this miraculous achievement in literature. 
I'm pretty sure all the books are the same formula, but it works. 


Image result for brown detective books

Hey hey, would you look at that. Another trip down ol' memory lane. 

Now I'm not quite sure if this is technically a Sherlock Holmes retelling, but it's about a detective, so we'll just go with it. Encyclopedia Brown is full of short stories about Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown's adventures of mystery. They're a light, fun, easy read, perfect for the budding detective in your household. They feel more attainable. I don't know about you, but as soon as I am done reading a mystery, I try to do the whole Sherlock thing where I actually observe my surroundings and try to come to a conclusion, but honestly, I will never achieve Sherlock's level of mental prowess for two reasons: 
  1. It's super complex. 
  2. He's fictional, and therefore can be as smart as he wants without having to work for it. 
But Encyclopedia Brown does a lesser version of Sherlock's awing observations, and it's a lot easier for the mind to wrap around and try to duplicate. Because that's what is important in any mystery: making me feel like a detective as well.



Image result for jackaby

I really did love this retelling. It wasn't perfect by any means, but it was new, which I loved. 

The Good. A much crazier version of Sherlock BUT WITH MAGIC. And ducks. Though most importantly magic. It took me a chapter or two to be able to be immersed in the story, but once I was, I lived and breathed the magical community. 
I described the plot to one of my friends, and their response was "But isn't that defeating the whole purpose of a historical fiction mystery?" Obviously I have shunned her (just kidding. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Even if it's wrong)


The Bad. Unfortunately, while I loved the magic, and characters, and overall feel of the novel, a very important part was missing: the mystery. Without a good mystery, it became "MAGIC. COMEDIC ONE LINERS. DUCKS. also someone was murdered, and we don't know who did it BUT MAGIC." I am -- at the very least -- grateful that it strayed from the formula Sherlock retelling. It's the little steps that accomplish the greatest journeys (I think I read that on a fortune cookie somewhere. Also it doesn't really make sense??)

Image result for basil of baker street

Most of the books on this list are Middle-Grade or lower WHICH SHOULD TELL YOU SOMETHING, such as "Wow, we are lacking in good YA Sherlock adaptations". Basil of Baker Street was A BLAST to read (I also read it aloud to myself in an accent and did all the little voices differently. 10/10, would recommend). It was just adorable because they're such tiny mice in little detective clothes and costumes. I was surprised at how different it was from the Disney movie. I actually enjoyed the book much better because it felt more realistic (yes, mice being detectives felt realistic. Yes, I know that isn't normal. No, I'm not seeing anyone to get help. Why do you ask?).

I would love to find more Sherlock Holmes adaptations that are actually good. I can't even tell you how many books I've turned away. My least favorite honestly felt like a first draft. Thank goodness for Basil of Baker Street to make it all better. 

Have you read any of these? What is one of your favorite Sherlock adaptations? What is an adaptation of a classic story that you loved? Do you have any weird quirks concerning books? Such as reading in all the different voices, dog-earing books (you monster!!), acquiring a stack of books to sit upon and survey your kingdom like the fearsome beast you are...

Toodlepip

8 comments:

  1. I haven't even read the original Sherlock (Shame! *kicks self off of blog*) I want to, but... yeah.
    I spend all my MONEY on books (most of it is money that I don't have #Awkard but you know...) and I need to stop. I LOVED Encyclopedia Brown when I was younger! His mysteries were the BEST!
    thefloridsword.blogspot.com

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    1. It's okay!! One day you will. When your TBR is empty and your bank account is full. XD

      Yay for Encyclopedia Brown! They're just so fun.

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  2. jackaby was good but I didn't like the female lead though I seen to have already forgotten her name, she just didn't seem likable to me and I was annoyed with her all through the book but the supernatural part was definitely a nice change of scenery. jackably is the best part of the book though I don't know why he's not the one telling the story but as always, the newbie is the one to tell the story and suppose she should make a believer out of us.

    I don't think there is any retelling/adaptations that I like. though I really hate it when they rewrite Jane Austen's classic books with monsters and zombies and jane eyre as a vampire slayer? totally hate those, sorry I just refused to read those.

    quirks about books? well, I really wish when I get a book in the mail, it's corners are not bended, seriously, how can they be new if they are already ruined? I guess that means I'm a snob about books because I like new books to look new. & also I'm the crazy person who searches for the same book in the store just to find that nice copy.

    have a lovely day.

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    1. Yeah? That is unfortunate when that happens. I would have loved it if the book was told from the perspective of the duck. XD I mean, would that not be fascinating?

      I agree that is a very strange concept, and I haven't read the Jane Eyre vampire slayer one, but I did enjoy P&P&Z. Call me crazy. XD

      Yeah, that's not fun when you get a book and it's not what it was promised to be. I hope that doesn't happen again for you!

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  3. I remember reading Encylopedia Brown, way back in the day!
    I've also read Jackaby. I wasn't so fond of the main characters, but I thought the magic aspect was fun...and I liked the duck.

    I've never read Enola Holmes, but you make it sound so good. Those last two points especiallY:
    "An actually competent detective who isn't simultaneously a jerk. #goals
    Defending herself but also accepting help from others. Thank goodness for this miraculous achievement in literature. "


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    1. Yeah, Jackaby definately wasn't perfect. Someone needs to now write another magical Sherlock Holmes retelling. ALL THE MAGIC.

      IT'S SO GOOD. It is geared towards a younger audience, middle-grade, but most of my favorite books are middle grade. XD

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  4. OKAY, FORGIVE ME BUT I AM CONFUZZLED HERE.

    All the movie/TV adaptions I know of have Sherlock as a man??? It seems that Watson is the one who can go either way??? And the BBC Sherlock is basically the "two BFFs solving crime together" option, but with two dudes instead of two girls.

    Also I don't get why Irene is considered a bad guy??? (In BBC she was, but not in the books. In the books she only appeared ONCE and she just "beat" Sherlock [not literally, of course, though BBC took it there...] at his own game. She wasn't evil or anything.)

    Probably why Moriarty is always the bad guy is because he was behind most of the other major mysteries??? None of the other bad guys were repeat offenders (as far as I know).

    Elementary is set in America, I believe... but you're right, most of the retellings ARE set in London. London is so romantic though!! So I can't really blame them.

    Oooooh!!! I am TOTALLY putting that Enola one on my TBR!!! It sounds frickin awesome and Enola is the most lovely name I have ever heard - I am going to name my firstborn child that now!!!

    I think the only Sherlock Holmes retelling I have ever read was this stupid one about these twins who were the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren of Sherlock (which would mean that Sherlock GOT MARRIED WHUT) and the whole thing was rather stupid.

    I NEED TO READ JACKABY!!! I have heard people talking about it before but no one told me it was a Sherlock retelling??????

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    1. I meant more YA Sherlock adaptations. About 85% of the YA retellings I've read had Sherlock as a girl. XD

      It's true, BBC Sherlock is kind of like that, but I meant in book form. As much as I adore TV shows, I really want more book adaptations that meet my skigh high expectations.

      I agree that Moriarty is really interesting, but I would love to read a retelling of the Red Headed League that takes a darker turn. There really is so much potential.

      Right? Enola sounds like a gorgeous name. :)

      OH! I remember reading those a while back. They're like "The Case Files of sherlock Holmes" or something??? Anyway, I remember I liked one of them (I think there were 5 or something. Maybe 3. Idk), but the others were really boring.

      YES!! Though it is not a perfect book by any means, but it's still pretty fun. :)

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