When I was a kid, I was an avid reader and really enjoyed diving into period fiction. For example, Edgar Allen Poe was my introduction to horror and continues to have an influence on how I feel about, read and write within the genre. For mysteries, on the other hand, Arthur Conan Doyle delighted me with the tales of Sherlock Holmes and his character’s uncanny deductive reasoning.
Although I started with Sherlock Holmes, I then went on to read other books in the genre by both male and female authors. Remember Nancy Drew? Encyclopedia Brown? Meg? For me, though, the iconic detective and the cases he had to solve really framed what mysteries were all about — the clues.
Eddy Webb, who I’ve worked with on Scenes of the Embrace, has a great series on EddyFate.com where he critiques the stories in chronological order. I love the idea; I used to read an author’s publications in chronological order to see how their writing changed over time. It’s really cool to see someone else tackling this approach. The introductory post sheds some insight on his goals for the series:
Much like Dr. Watson, my time with the Great Detective has gone through cycles. Sometimes I spent weeks or months in close company with him, while other times it was years between visits. But he was never far from my mind, and recently he’s been on my mind more than ever. A couple of years ago, the incomparable Ken Hite started releasing a series of essays, critiques, and rants on his LiveJournal about each of the Lovecraft stories, which he entitled “Tour de Lovecraft.” I mentioned to him in passing once that I should probably get around to doing a similar series based on the Holmes canon of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I remember his response being encouraging, but for some reason I don’t recall it clearly. Perhaps I have blocked the incident from my mind for my own sanity. But since then, especially with the release of the Guy Ritchie film Sherlock Holmes in 2009 and the BBC series Sherlock in 2010, I found myself spending more and more time talking with people about the Great Detective, as well as (more often than not) getting into Internet arguments about him. — SOURCE: Introduction to the Tour de Holmes
One of the posts I really liked was his critique of The Musgrave Ritual, where he mentions phrenology and the dreaded butler. This story was one of my favorites as well; it’s interesting to see how stories I enjoy resonate with other readers and why.
There are several essays posted already, so if you want to dive in and take a look, be sure to visit his website and read through Tour de Holmes on EddyFate.com. Eddy has also posted links to the public domain e-books on his site, so you can read and comment along with him. Good stuff!