Best Sherlock Holmes Books Not Written by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes, the iconic detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, continues to capture the imagination of readers around the world long after the original stories were published. While Doyle’s works remain the definitive adventures of the famous detective and his loyal friend, Dr. John Watson, a myriad of authors have taken up the mantle, crafting their own tales within the Holmesian universe.

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear – the best Sherlock Holmes books are all written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (ACD.) However, he only wrote 4 novels and four collections of short stories. The public’s demand for Sherlock Holmes remains insatiable decades after ACD’s death. More Sherlock Holmes books have been published than ever before. Although I have not read every single non-ACD Sherlock Holmes book (I’d need another 50 years for that), here are ten that I can heartily recommend, in no particular order.

These non-canonical Sherlock Holmes books offer fresh perspectives, intriguing mysteries, and new adventures that honor the spirit of the original works while providing unique twists and turns. Let’s delve into some of the best non-canonical Sherlock Holmes books that every mystery lover should consider.

1 The House of Silk

This is my personal favorite of all Sherlock Holmes pastiches (imitations.) Anthony Horowitz does an enviable job in this 2011 effort, weaving together two seemingly unrelated mysteries. He handles the time period and Holmes’ tricky character excellently and does not resort to clichés.

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

Set in the late 19th century, just like the original series, The House of Silk explores the darker aspects of London’s underworld, pushing Holmes’s deductive abilities to their limits. Horowitz not only captures the essence of Holmes but also introduces a layer of gritty realism that was only hinted at in Doyle’s work.

2 The Revenge of Moriarty

The late great John Gardner wrote a trilogy about Sherlock Holmes’s nemesis, Professor Moriarty. The trilogy was recently republished by Pegasus in 2013. This is the second book in the series and can stand by itself. Think of a cross between The Godfather and Sherlock Holmes, and you’ll have an idea of what the book is like.

3 Sherlock Holmes and The Knave of Hearts

Someone is trying to kill French novelist Jules Verne. Fortunately for Berne, one of his biggest fans is Sherlock Holmes. Satisfying second Sherlock Holmes pastiche by Steve Hays and David Whitehead. Fans of Jeremy Brett can easily picture Brett as Holmes in this book.

4 The Irene Adler Series

Veteran mystery writer Carole Nelson Douglas takes a close and often comical look at the opera singer described by Holmes as “the woman.” If you only have time to read one book of the series, go for the second book, Good Morning, Irene. In 1991, it was republished under the title The Adventuress. Holmes and Watson make cameo appearances.

5 The Revenge of the Hound

Michael Hardwick wrote a few Sherlock Holmes pastiches in his career, but this is by far the best. It makes you wish it was really written by ACD. The hound that haunted the Baskerville family seems to have reappeared in London. Or has it?

6 The West End Horror

Nicholas Meyers is best known for his pastiche The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, but this 1976 effort is by far the superior novel. Holmes is recognizably familiar and doesn’t spend half the time being a raving lunatic (as in The Seven-Per-Cent Solution.) Holmes meets some of the most famous historical figures of the English theatre while chasing down a cruel murderer.

7 Sons of Moriarty and More Stories of Sherlock Holmes

This short story collection, published in 2013, is edited by veteran mystery writer Loren D. Estlemen. Most of the stories feature good mysteries with lively characters to assist Holmes in his work.

8 Sherlock Holmes in America

This is a collection of 18 short stories and essays by various mystery writers edited by Martin H. Greenburg. As the title suggests, the stories answer the question, “What if Sherlock Holmes solved cases in America?” There is only one clunker in the group, but skip the Michael Walsh and wallow luxuriously in the other stories.

9 Death on a Pale Horse: Sherlock Holmes on Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Written by prolific Bath-based author Donald Thomas, this is the best of his numerous books on Sherlock Holmes. You do need to know about the history of the British Empire in order to follow along with the complex plot. Although Holmes is absent for a good bit of the novel, the plot is very lively.

10 The Final Solution: A Story of Detection

This bittersweet 2004 novella by Michael Chabon is beloved by many fans. Holmes, now in his 90s, meets a strange German boy and his number-chanting African grey parrot.

11 Dust and Shadow

Another remarkable entry is Dust and Shadow by Lyndsay Faye, which pits Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper. The novel explores what might happen if Holmes was brought in to track down one of history’s most elusive killers. Faye meticulously blends historical facts with the fictional world of Holmes, delivering a narrative that is both compelling and convincingly set within the original era.

The non-canonical works of Sherlock Holmes demonstrate the character’s vast appeal and the limitless possibilities for new stories. These books offer a continuation of Holmes’s adventures for the modern reader, providing new angles from which to appreciate his genius. Whether it’s through historical reenactments, modern adaptations, or explorations into the psychological and paranormal, Sherlock Holmes remains a timeless character who continues to evolve with each new interpretation.

For fans of mystery, crime, and suspense, these non-canonical adventures promise to deliver all the intrigue of Doyle’s original stories with fresh twists that make Sherlock Holmes immortal.

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