Can’t get enough Sherlock Holmes? Try these new series
By Melissa J. Oleen
Rowan Public Library
I love a great book series — the joy of discovering there are already multiple titles in the series, the angst experienced when halfway through a beloved collection, the dread that comes with finishing the last installment knowing there is no release date for the next one, the delight in finding a book in the series that you missed.
I do not love authors that take series characters from the literary cannon and write new books for them. The blasphemy! I am pointing my finger at you Seth Grahame-Smith and Linda Berdoll.
This love-hate relationship finds a compromise with authors who take a beloved character and incorporate him or her as a supporting character or muse or write about the character at a different age. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is a perfect example.
For elementary age readers, author Nancy Springer has created Enola Holmes, Sherlock Holmes’ much younger sister. In the first book, “The Case of the Missing Marques,” Enola is determined to prove she is every bit as capable of detecting as her distant older brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. She is also determined to avoid them as their plan, upon the mysterious disappearance of their mother, is to send Enola to boarding school.
Enola’s plan is to find her missing mother. You will find yourself nodding your head knowingly at her exasperation with Holmes. There are six books in the series to date. This is a great way to introduce children to Sherlock Holmes. Children who enjoy this series will soon be ready to read the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
Author Shane Peacock introduces Holmes as a young boy. The first book in this young adult series, “The Eye of the Crow,” is set in London in the 1860s. A 13-year-old Holmes struggles to fit in and comply with his parent’s wishes. His poverty stricken parents are from diverse backgrounds. His father is a struggling Jewish scientist. His mother, a talented singer, was disowned by her aristocratic parents upon marrying his father.
Holmes would much rather try to solve the gruesome crimes reported in the London papers than attend school. This interest becomes all too real when he finds himself drawn in as a murder suspect. Peacock has created a believable back-story that supports the man Holmes matures into in Doyle’s stories. There are six books in this series and the library has them all, but I must warn you — the final installment was published in 2012.
Author extraordinaire Laurie R. King had me worried at first. King writes about Mary Russell, Holmes’ wife!? This exceptional series is true to Doyle’s vision. In Mary Russell, King has created a suitable and believable literary partner for a retired Holmes. The series opens in 1915. “I was fifteen when I first met Sherlock Holmes, fifteen years old with my nose in a book as I walked the Sussex Downs, and nearly stepped on him. In my defence I must say it was an engrossing book…”
The first books in the series, “Beekeeper’s Apprentice,” “A Monstrous Regiment of Women” and “Letter of Mary,” have a reluctant Holmes taking on Russell as an apprentice. It isn’t until seven years after they meet that Russell decides they should marry. If you could care less about Sherlock Holmes, King’s mysteries are reason enough to try out this series. As King herself has said “I did not write Sherlock Holmes stories, I wrote Mary Russell stories.” The library has all the books in this series. The NC Digital Library, which your Rowan County Library card provides you free access to, carries many as eBooks.
So there you have it. Stories connected to Sherlock Holmes that are true to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character. And better yet, the next Mary Russell installment is slated to hit shelves February 2015!
Friends of Rowan Public Library Annual Book Sale: Headquarters. Most items $2 or less. Open today, 1-4 p.m.; Monday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Proceeds benefit Friends of Rowan Public Library.
Harpo Polo’s China Today-Living History: Nov. 6, 6-7 p.m., with Stephen Sylvester. This program is made possible through a Student Impact Grant from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation. The program is free and all are welcome.
Book Chats for children at South branch: Nov. 13 for grades 4 and 5, 4:15 p.m. Children in grades 2-5 may participate in Book Chats at South Rowan Regional Library in China Grove. Registration is required and space is limited. Please call 704-216-7728 for more information.
Computer classes: Computer Basics, Nov. 4, 7 p.m. and Nov. 20, 9:30 a.m., headquarters. Registration is required by calling 704-216-8242. If you’re new to computers or if you’ve never felt comfortable with them, Computer Basics covers the very basics. Classes are free. Sessions are about 90 minutes long. Dates and times at all locations are subject to change without notice.
Teen program: All programs 5:30-7 p.m. East, Nov. 17; South, Nov. 18; Headquarters, Nov. 19. Teen programs are for middle school and high school students. Light refreshments for teens included.
International Game Day: Headquarters, Nov. 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. RPL will partner with local Girl Scout Troops to provide a taste of games from Brazil, Romania and other areas. This is a free event and all are welcome.
Book Bites Club: South Regional (only), Nov. 18, 6:30 p.m., “Guests on Earth,” by Lee Smith. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-7841.
Adventure Club: Headquarters, Nov. 22, 11 a.m. Adventurous hands-on science based activities and projects for all ages. This month’s theme is “Pirates Ships and Pirate Maps.” Call 704-216-8234 for more details.
November closings: Nov. 11, Veterans Day; Nov. 27-28, Thanksgiving, regular hours resume Saturday, Nov. 29.
Displays for November: headquarters, NAMI by Peggy Mangold, Family Crisis/Domestic Violence, Bonnie Link; South, Rowan Doll Society by Gayle Hansen; East, Holiday Village by Mary Earnhardt.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.
Children’s story time: Weekly through Nov. 26. For more information, call 704-216-8234.
• Baby Time — Simple stories and songs to babies 6–23 months old with a parent or caregiver. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.
• Toddler Time — Focused on sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills for children ages 18–35 months with a parent or caregiver. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.
• Tiny Tumblers — Simple stories, musical scarves and instruments for babies 6-23 months old with a parent or caregiver. South, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.
• Preschool Time — To build reading readiness skills for children ages 3-5 with a parent or caregiver. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; South, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m.
• Noodlehead Story Time — For children ages 4-8 to enjoy listening to silly books and tales together; lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.
• Art programs — School-age children can learn different art terms and techniques and work on art projects. Program lasts 30 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Emma’s Easel, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Art with Char, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.