In December, 1887, a seminal event in the history of English literature occurred: the publication of A Study in Scarlet, for it introduced the most popular and imitated character that the world has ever seen—Sherlock Holmes. Its author, Arthur Conan Doyle, went on to write a total of sixty Holmes tales—four novels and fifty-six short stories that came to be regarded as the Holmesian, or Sherlockian, canon. Those sixty tales define the character of Holmes and his friend, colleague, and chronicler, Dr. Watson, and define the methods and skills that have made Holmes stories, in all their various forms, among the most popular books in the world.
However, Doyle has not been the only author to chronicle Sherlock Holmes’s adventures. Thousands of stories featuring Holmes and Watson have been written by other authors, as writers throughout the world have attempted to put their own stamp on the saga. From England to America, from Russia to Japan, and across the globe, writers have tried their hands at endowing Holmes with eternal life. As novelist Vincent Starrett once said, Holmes is a man “who never lived and so can never die.” His continuing existence is the realm of the pastiche.
The term pastiche encompasses the concepts of both parody and homage. Although Holmes has been subject to both, most pastiches fit the latter category. They are attempts to tell tales as Doyle would have told them with all the respect that he did. They...
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