Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Sherlock Holmes pastiches

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit

Sherlock Holmes has long been a popular character for pastiche, Holmes-related work by authors and creators other than Arthur Conan Doyle. Their works can be grouped into four broad categories:


  • new Sherlock Holmes stories;
  • stories in which Holmes appears in a cameo role;
  • stories about imagined descendants of Sherlock Holmes;
  • and stories inspired by Sherlock Holmes but which do not include Holmes himself.
  • There can be found also many pop culture references to Sherlock Holmes.

    Sherlock Holmes stories

    New Sherlock Holmes stories fall into many categories, including:

  • Additional Sherlock Holmes stories in the conventional mould
  • Holmes placed in settings of contemporary interest (such as World War II, or the future)
  • Crossover stories in which Holmes is pitted against other fictional villains (for example vampires)
  • Explorations of unusual aspects of Holmes' character which are hinted at in Conan Doyle's works (e.g. drug use)
  • Print

    In 1913 the Greek novel Sherlock Holmes saving Mr. Venizelos (Ο Σέρλοκ Χολμς σώζων τον κ. Βενιζέλον) was serialized in the magazine Hellas. Written by an anonymous author, it describes Holmes' attempts to save Eleftherios Venizelos from a Bulgarian organization's assassination plot during the London Conference of 1912–13. It is considered the first detective novel of the Greek literature. In January 1928, the short story "My Dear Holmes" was published in Punch, or the London Charivari. The sub-title of the story was: "His positively last appearance on earth." Written from the point of view of Holmes, it starts out in the usual way, and then ends rather lamely with no mystery presented or solved, but Holmes dead of incautiously (and improbably) sniffing excessively at a bottle of an anesthetic ("A.C.E.") he has asked Watson to bring with them on an errand.

    Arthur Conan Doyle's son, Adrian Conan Doyle, wrote—in a joint effort with John Dickson Carr—twelve Sherlock Holmes short stories that were published under the title The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes in 1954.

    Using his alternate name of H.F. Heard, Gerald Heard wrote three novels about a reclusive beekeeper in the English countryside who goes by the name of Mycroft; he's clearly intended to be Sherlock Holmes, but the books were written before the Doyle estate gave permission for other writers to use the name. The three stories are A Taste for Honey, Reply Paid and The Notched Hairpin. A Taste for Honey was adapted for American TV in 1955 as "Sting of Death," with Boris Karloff as Mr. Mycroft.

    American novelist and filmmaker Nicholas Meyer wrote three Holmes novels: The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1974), The West End Horror (1976), and The Canary Trainer (1993). In 1977 the novel Exit Sherlock Holmes by Robert Lee Hall was published, and featured an exploration of Holmes' origins with a science fiction twist. In this account Holmes and Moriarty are revealed to be from the future, where genetic manipulation has resulted in groups of people tailored to specific roles; the identical Holmes and Moriarty were created to be actors. Moriarty, having developed a form of psychosis, takes Holmes back in time in order to serve as his nemesis while he plans to amass power with his knowledge of future events. It falls to Holmes and Watson, who discovers the truth of Holmes' nature over the course of the novel, to thwart Moriarty so that Holmes can take him back to the future and prevent his interference in the events of World War I.

    Randall Collins published in 1978 The Case of the Philosophers' Ring, under the pseudonym Dr. John H. Watson, with Holmes services requested at Cambridge, around 1914, by Bertrand Russell, and meeting the Cambridge Apostles (Moore, Hardy, Keynes...) Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, Annie Besant and of course, Aleisteir Crowley as a perfect villain.

    Michael Dibdin's novel The Last Sherlock Holmes Story (1979) confronts a somewhat psychopathic Sherlock Holmes with the crimes of Jack the Ripper, whom Holmes suspects to be none other than James Moriarty. Raymond Smullyan wrote The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes (1979), in which Holmes (with Watson) applies retrograde analysis to solve chess problems.

    The detective novelist Loren D. Estleman wrote several short stories and two novels featuring Holmes; the novels pit the detective against Count Dracula and Dr. Jekyll, respectively, featuring Dracula abducting Watson's wife (adapted for the radio by the BBC in 1981) and Holmes and Watson being forced to kill Jekyll at the moment of his last transformation as he recognises that Hyde will not kill himself. Cay Van Ash wrote a novel Ten Years Beyond Baker Street (1984) set in 1914 where Dr. Petrie calls Holmes out of retirement to battle Dr. Fu Manchu.

    Holmes aficionado Stephen Fry wrote a short story featuring Holmes, "The Adventure of the Laughing Jarvey", in which Holmes and Watson encounter a great Victorian writer and are engaged on a mission to recover a lost manuscript. It includes introductory text claiming the tale itself to be a long-lost manuscript, which modern analysis has shown to use linguistic style and grammar typical of Watson. The story appears in Fry's collection of journalism and early writings, Paperweight (1992). In Stephen King's short story "The Doctor's Case" (1993), Holmes's alleged allergy to cats prevents him for once from solving the problem quicker than Watson. Barrie Roberts penned a series of Holmes pastiches including Sherlock Holmes and the Man from Hell and Sherlock Holmes and the Railway Maniac from 1994 until his death in 2007. O Xangô de Baker Street (1995) tells the comic story of Sherlock Holmes's visit to Brazil, invited by the emperor Dom Pedro II, to solve the disappearance of a Stradivarius violin which becomes a hunt for a serial killer. Larry Millett has written six books and a short story featuring Holmes solving mysteries in Minnesota. Michael Mallory has written more than two-dozen short stories and two novels featuring "Amelia Watson," the second wife of Dr. Watson. These are not pastiches so much as original detective stories that view Holmes and Watson from a different, somewhat humorous, point of view. Colin Bruce's The Strange Case of Mrs. Hudson's Cat: And Other Science Mysteries Solved by Sherlock Holmes (1997) and Conned Again, Watson!: Cautionary Tales of Logic, Maths and Probability (2001) are books of Sherlock Holmes stories in which Holmes uses scientific and mathematical approaches respectively to solve mysteries. Although in literary style, they are usually classed as "popular science" and "mathematics of everyday life" books. The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes: The Missing Years (1999), by Tibetan author Jamyang Norbu is an account of Holmes's adventures in India and Tibet where, posing as Sigerson, he meets the Dalai Lama and Huree Chunder Mookerjee, a character from Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim.

    The collection Shadows Over Baker Street (2003) contains 14 stories by 20 authors pitting Holmes against the forces of the Cthulhu Mythos. Among them is Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald", which won the 2004 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. The title is a play on A Study in Scarlet. The narrator, never named (but whose initials in the end point him to be the criminal henchman of James Moriarty, Sebastian Moran. His tour in Afghanistan point to this as well.), meets the protagonist (who is also never named, but likely James Moriarty himself, in a surprising role-reversal, making him the detective and Holmes the criminal) under similar circumstances to the meeting of Holmes and Watson in A Study in Scarlet, even down to the deduction that the narrator has recently been in Afghanistan. The protagonist is tall and thin, a detective, chemist, and master of disguise. However, as the narrator and his friend investigate a murder of one of the Royal Family (shown to be the Great Old Ones of the Cthulhu Mythos) the murderer is revealed to be a tall, thin, pipe-smoking man, going by the name Sherry Vernet (a reference to the first name Sherlock, or possibly Conan Doyle's earlier "Sherrinford", and the last name of his Holmes' grandmother). He is assisted by a "limping doctor", later tentatively identified as John (or possibly James) Watson. "Vernet" also had gone by the name Sigerson. Inspector Lestrade also appears in the story.

    Michael Chabon wrote The Final Solution in 2004. This book, that received favorable reviews, deals with an elderly Sherlock Holmes, referred to only as 'the old man,' solving the case of the missing parrot belonging to a nine-year-old Jewish refugee boy from Germany. While readily solving the mystery, 'the old man,' as well as the rest of the characters in the novella, fail to see what the parrot's incessant muttering of German numbers really means.

    Caleb Carr was approached to pen a tale for the anthology Ghosts of Baker Street. Carr's short story grew to become a full length novel which became 2005's The Italian Secretary. An example of Sherlock Holmes pastiche is found in The Curse of the Nibelung: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery (2005) by Sam North, which is currently in reprint. It finds Holmes at the very end of his career, together with a geriatric Watson, sent by Winston Churchill to Nazi Germany to help uncover a terrible secret. Elemental, querido Chaplin, by Rafael Marín (2005, Minotauro, Barcelona, ISBN 84-450-7542-X), is presented as an unpublished manuscript in which Charles Chaplin tells how, as a London poor child, he helped Sherlock Holmes in an adventure against Fu Manchu. Nick Rennison's 2006 Sherlock Holmes: The Unauthorized Biography includes an examination of Holmes' family history, his education, his involvement in clandestine government investigations, his scientific research and cases undocumented by John H. Watson, M.D., as well as cases published with Holmes's permission under the name of Arthur Conan Doyle.

    Mitch Cullin's novel A Slight Trick of the Mind (2005) takes place two years after the end of the second world war, and explores the character of Sherlock Holmes (now 93) as he comes to terms with a life spent in emotionless logic. Now old and frail, his once steel trap mind begins to fail him as he loses items and forgets whole parts of his day. The story follows Holmes both at his home where he now tends bees in quiet retirement, as well as a vacation in Japan where he observes their post-war society first-hand. The novel is also interspersed with chapters of Sherlock's own book which reveals a fleeting moment of love that even he does not yet realise.

    Manly W. Wellman's Sherlock Holmes' War of the Worlds combined the elements of Holmes canon with H.G. Wells's science fiction classic and describes Holmes' and Watson's adventures in the Martian-occupied London. (In passing, the book also asserts that Holmes had a long-lasting romantic relationship with Mrs. Hudson, but the puritanical Dr. Watson never noticed it). Laurie R. King recreates Sherlock Holmes in her Mary Russell series (starting with The Beekeeper's Apprentice), set during World War I and the 1920s. Her Holmes is (semi)retired in Sussex, where he gradually trains a teenage Russell as his apprentice. The series includes 11 full length novels and a short story tie-in with a book from her Kate Martinelli series, The Art of Detection. Repercussions is a short comic story by Dwight Baldwin and J.M. DeSantis in the literary trade paperback Iconic (Summer, 2009) by members of the Comicbook Artists Guild. In it, Holmes and Watson are on the trail of the legendary Jack the Ripper. Another story which pits Holmes and Watson against Jack the Ripper is Lyndsay Faye's Dust and Shadow (2009).

    For younger readers, Shane Peacock has written The Boy Sherlock Holmes series. Andy Lane begun a young adult series of Sherlock Holmes adventures with the publication of Death Cloud in 2010. This series is the first authorized series of teenage adventures. Alberto López Aroca wrote "El problema de la pequeña cliente", a short story included in the book Nadie lo sabrá nunca (2004), where Sherlock Holmes meets Mary Poppins.

    On 17 January 2011, it was announced that the Conan Doyle estate had commissioned Anthony Horowitz, author of the Alex Rider novels, The Power of Five and TV's Foyle's War, to write a brand new, authorised Sherlock Holmes novel to be published by Orion Books in September 2011. "The content of the new tale – and indeed the title – remain a closely guarded secret." This novel has since been released, under the title The House of Silk.


    The BBC's TV series Sherlock re-imagines Holmes and Watson (played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) as contemporary figures with Watson publishing his accounts of Holmes' exploits online.

    The US TV series Elementary features a modern Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) who lives in the United States, where he is assisted by Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu).

    The 2014 NHK puppetry Sherlock Holmes is set in a fictional boarding school "Beeton School" and Holmes and Watson are pupils who live in 221B of Baker House. There's no murder and same characters appear many times.


    Bert Coules penned The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes starring Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams/Andrew Sachs as Watson. The episodes of The Further Adventures were based on throwaway references in Doyle's short stories and novels. He also produced original scripts for this series, which was also issued on CD. Coules had previously dramatised the entire Holmes canon for Radio Four.

    BBC Radio 2 also broadcast in 1999 a more ribald six-episode spoof series featuring Holmes and Watson titled The Newly Discovered Casebook of Sherlock Holmes starring Roy Hudd as Holmes ("England's greatest detective and foremost toffee-nosed ponce"), Chris Emmett as Watson ("contributor to the British Medical Journal, Which Stethescope Magazine and inventor of the self-raising thermometer") and June Whitfield as Mrs. Hudson. Titles in this series included "The Case of the Clockwork Fiend", "The Mystery of the Obese Escapologist", "The Case of the Deranged Botanist", "Sherlock Holmes and the Glorious Doppelganger", "Holmes Strikes a Happy Medium" and "The Demon Cobbler of Greek Street", and usually turned out to have Holmes' mortal enemy Moriarty (Geoffrey Whitehead) behind each mystery. This series has since been re-broadcast on BBC Radio 7.

    Starting in 1998, U.S. radio producer Jim French was given permission from the Conan Doyle estate to produce new, original Sherlock Holmes stories for radio in North America. These are presented within the Imagination Theater program on radio stations and XM satellite radio. The new stories are also broadcast under the banner The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. John Gilbert played Holmes until 2000, when John Patrick Lowrie took over the role. Watson is played in all shows by Lawrence Albert. Scripts are by Jim French, M. J. Elliott, Matthew Booth, John Hall, Gareth Tilley, J R Campbell and Lawrence Albert. In 2005, with adaptations written by M. J. Elliott, French and his company began a new series based on Conan Doyle's original tales called "The Classic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes." Many episodes are available on CD as well as downloadable from the Imagination Theater website.


    Holmes has been an inspiration of both serious and comedy films.

    Serious films

    A series of fourteen Sherlock Holmes films starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. John Watson were released between 1939 and 1946. Many are loosely based on the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and some are original stories. Those that pit Holmes and Watson against the Nazis, made during the Second World War, were in the spirit of Conan Doyle's patriotism, and indeed the quintessential "His Last Bow" describes Holmes and his connections with British Intelligence on the eve of the First World War.

    A Study in Terror (1965), directed by James Hill starring John Neville as Holmes and Donald Houston as Watson, connected Holmes with the Jack the Ripper case, and was later novelised by Ellery Queen.

    The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) was directed by Billy Wilder and stars Robert Stephens as the famous sleuth. In this film, Holmes travels to Scotland in search of the Loch Ness Monster.

    The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976), based on Nicholas Meyer's very successful novel, concentrates on Holmes' cocaine addiction and stars Nicol Williamson and Robert Duvall as Holmes and Watson, respectively. Professor Moriarty (Laurence Olivier) is characterised here as an inoffensive mathematics tutor, his villainy a fantasy of Holmes's drug habit.

    Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976 TV movie) starred Roger Moore as Holmes and Patrick Macnee as Watson.

    Murder by Decree (1979) portrays Holmes (played by Christopher Plummer) and Watson (played by James Mason) tracking down Jack the Ripper, and dealing with the violent political situation of the day. The theory of the Ripper murders presented in that film is similar to that portrayed in the comic book and film From Hell. Both are derived from Stephen Knight's book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution (1977).

    In 1985, director Barry Levinson made a film called Young Sherlock Holmes (a.k.a. Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear) with a story about the youth of Holmes and Watson as Secondary School students and their first great adventure, even before A Study in Scarlet. There are a lot of references about Holmes canon such as the violin, the pipe, "elementary, my dear...", the clothes, the reason Holmes never married, and it includes the first meeting of Holmes and Professor Moriarty. The film was produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus; it also became a book.

    In both The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1987 TV movie) and Sherlock Holmes Returns (1993 TV movie) a cryogenically frozen Holmes is awakened in the present day.

    Hands of a Murderer (1990 TV movie) sees Edward Woodward playing Holmes and John Hillerman (of Magnum, P.I. fame) as Watson, in a plot involving Mycroft (Peter Jeffrey) and Moriarty (Anthony Andrews) battling for control of government secrets.

    Sherlock: Case of Evil (2002 TV movie) has James D'Arcy as a youthful, bed-hopping Holmes, meeting Roger Morlidge's Watson for the first time while pursuing Vincent D'Onofrio's Moriarty, whose opium-trading schemes have left Mycroft (Richard E. Grant) physically and mentally scarred.

    The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire (2002 TV movie) stars Matt Frewer and Kenneth Welsh as Holmes and Watson investigating reports of vampire attacks in Whitechapel, East London. The film was preceded by adaptations of The Hound of the Baskervilles (2000 TV movie) and The Sign of Four (2001 TV movie).

    Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking (2004 TV movie), has Holmes (Rupert Everett) and Watson (Ian Hart) searching for a killer with a foot fetish. The production was an original story written by Allan Cubitt. This was preceded by The Hound of the Baskervilles (2002 TV movie) with Holmes now played by Richard Roxburgh and Ian Hart returning as Watson.

    Sherlock Holmes (2009) was directed by Guy Ritchie for Warner Bros. and stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson. It also features Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler. The film explores Holmes and Watson's most complex adventure in which the antagonist Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) seemingly rises from his grave after being executed and draws plans to control the British Empire. The sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) pits the original cast against Professor Moriarty (played by Jared Harris).

    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (2010) was directed by Rachel Lee Gondenberg and produced by low-budget direct-to-DVD film company The Asylum. It stars Gareth David Lloyd as Watson and new actor Ben Syder as Holmes. The film placed a younger Holmes and Watson in a steampunk science fiction story set in 1881, in which Holmes and Watson investigate the crimes of a mechanical genius known as Spring Heeled Jack, who creates mechanical monsters to terrorise London.

    Rumours of a movie script called Sherlock Holmes and the Vengeance of Dracula being in development have been on the Internet since at least 2001 or 2002. Several script reviews have been posted. Despite the obvious similarity to the Estleman book about Holmes and Dracula referenced elsewhere in this article, there is no indication that the script bears any relationship to that book.

    Comedy films

    Holmes' talents have sometimes been inverted for comic effect, as in Gene Wilder's 1975 film The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother. Here Holmes' younger brother Sigurson (Wilder), who is jealous of 'Sheer Luck' as he calls him, is manipulated by Holmes into solving one of his cases.

    1988 brought Thom Eberhardt's role-reversal comedy Without a Clue. The film depicts Dr. Watson (Ben Kingsley) as the real detective genius and Holmes (Michael Caine) as a bumbling idiot who is merely an actor and a front man for Watson, with a plot which cleverly mirrors the real life circumstance of Conan Doyle (also a physician) who eventually tired of his creation, Sherlock Holmes.


    The 1999 animated series Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century was set in the year 2103 and involved Beth Lestrade, a direct descendant of Holmes's associate Inspector Lestrade, reanimating the cryogenically preserved corpse of Holmes to battle Moriarty-later revealed to be a clone of the original-who was believed to be responsible for a series of crimes in New London. Watson was long dead, but a robotic counterpart was made to physically resemble him after downloading Watson's stories- and essentially his personality- into his databanks by accident, and the three solved a number of cases patterned on the original Holmes stories; for instance, a retelling of The Hound of the Baskervilles took place on the moon and involved werewolves. The series was created by DIC and Scottish Television, and ran for approximately two seasons. It was unique in Sherlockiana for a number of reasons, including the fact that Holmes, who is canonically described as having black hair and grey eyes, was depicted with blond hair and blue eyes.

    Sherlock Hound (名探偵ホームズ Meitantei Hōmuzu?, lit. "Detective Holmes") is a 1984 anime television series based on Conan Doyle's work where almost all the characters are depicted as anthropomorphic dogs. The show featured regular appearances of Jules Verne-steampunk style technology, adding a 19th-century science-fiction atmosphere to the series. It was coproduced by Japanese and Italian companies and animated by TMS. Some episodes were directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

    Batman: The Brave and the Bold featured an episode in which Holmes and Watson are acquaintances of Jason Blood and end up summoning Batman back through time in order to aid him when he is framed for the crimes of the future Gentleman Ghost. Upon encountering Batman Holmes is able to deduce much about his nature but is then baffled when Batman recognizes him immediately; he comes to see the Caped Crusader as something of a rival as they attempt to unravel the plot of Gentleman Ghost. After the villain's defeat, Holmes and his Victorian era allies see Batman off, and as Batman departs he acknowledges Holmes as "the World's Greatest Detective."

    The 2015 anime film, The Empire of Corpses, features a younger, re-imagined Holmes and Watson, the latter actually the protagonist, in a steampunk world where the dead are reanimated and used as a labor force.


    Leah Moore and John Reppion's The Trial of Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Scott Beatty's Sherlock Holmes Year One (2011) published by Dynamite Entertainment.

    Ian Edginton wrote the 2010 Wildstorm comic book limited series Victorian Undead which pitted Holmes against zombies.

    New Paradigm Studios in August 2012 debuted "Watson And Holmes" digital comic on Iverse Comicplus digital app. "Watson And Holmes" is a modern re-interpretation of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as African-Americans in present day Harlem NY. "Watson and Holmes" is in limited print black and white comics of the first 3 issues. Issue #1 will be in wide release July 2013.

    See Adaptations of Sherlock Holmes.

    Video games

    Sherlock Holmes has taken the starring roles in a number of officially licensed video games:

  • Melbourne House released an adventure game for Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum called Sherlock in 1984.
  • Datasoft released a game called 221B Baker St in 1986.
  • Infocom released an interactive fiction game, Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels, in 1987. The plot revolves around Moriarty's theft of the Crown Jewels days before the celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee; Holmes rightly senses that a trap has been set for him and allows Watson to investigate the case.
  • Zenobi Software released two text-only adventure games for the ZX Spectrum: Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Beheaded Smuggler in 1988 and Sherlock Holmes: The Lamberley Mystery in 1990.
  • ICOM Simulations released Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, a multimedia adventure game for PCs in 1991 and later for the Sega CD system 1992. One of the earliest multimedia titles, it was to become a series of three games, each with three cases. A collected edition followed in 1993.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. II, ICOM, 1992.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. III, ICOM, 1993.
  • Electronic Arts released a series of original computer games for DOS called The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel was released in 1992, The Case of the Rose Tattoo in 1996.
  • Game developer Frogwares created the titles Sherlock Holmes: Mystery of the Mummy, Sherlock Holmes: Secret of the Silver Earring and Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, both marketed as "inspired by The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", and released in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Frogwares also created Sherlock Holmes: Nemesis, released in 2008 and Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper, released in 2009 and was converted to play in the Xbox 360. In September 2012, Frogwares released The Testament of Sherlock Holmes for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows. Also in September 2014, Frogwares released Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments. These games comprises the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes video game series.
  • Sherlock Holmes appears as a supporting character in Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodou Ryuunosuke no Bouken, who is aided by protagonist Ryuunosuke Naruhodou to solve a mysterious case. He is accompanied by his Iris Watson, the ten-year-old daughter of his partner Dr. John Watson who was murdered on a visit to Japan.
  • Print

    According to The Alternative Sherlock Holmes: Pastiches, Parodies, and Copies by Peter Ridgway Watt and Joseph Green, the first known period pastiche dates from 1893. Titled "The Late Sherlock Holmes", it came from the pen of Doyle's close friend, J. M. Barrie, who was to create Peter Pan a decade later. The police are apprised of the death of Holmes and believe that Dr. Watson has killed him because of a disagreement about money. However, Holmes turns out to be alive and, although it is not made clear, Watson is presumably released.

    In 1902 Mark Twain painted an unflattering portrait of Holmes and his methods of deduction in his A Double Barrelled Detective Story. In the short story, set at a mining camp in California, Fetlock Jones, a nephew of Sherlock Holmes, kills his master, a silver-miner, by blowing up his cabin. Since this occurs when Holmes happens to be visiting, he brings his skills to bear upon the case and arrives at logically worked conclusions that are proved abysmally wrong by an amateur detective with an extremely keen sense of smell which he employs in solving the case. Perhaps this ought to be seen as yet another piece where Twain tries to prove that life does not quite follow logic.

    In 1905 the French writer Maurice Leblanc pitted his gentleman burglar Arsène Lupin against Holmes in a story called Sherlock Holmes arrive trop tard (Sherlock Holmes Arrives Too Late), the first of four in the Lupin series. Copyright concerns at the time forced Holmes to be renamed "Herlock Sholmes" or "Holmlock Shears", and Watson to be renamed "Wilson", in subsequent appearances. However, in many modern editions, the names have reverted to the original.

    In 1910, the French writer Arnould Galopin teamed up his detective Allan Dickson, the Australian Sherlock Holmes with an aging Holmes renamed Herlokolms who had been much impressed by the young man’s early exploits in L’Homme au Complet Gris (The Man in Grey). Allan Dickson may have been the prototype for Harry Dickson (see #Successors of Sherlock Holmes, below).

    Another French writer, Théodore Botrel, wrote the play Le Mystère de Kéravel in 1932 in which Holmes, travelling incognito in Brittany, solves a murder at the request of local police, who know his true identity. He is referred to as L'étranger in the list of characters, but named in the text.

    Several characters from the canon appear in Alan Moore's comic book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which various characters from Victorian fiction are recruited to serve the interests of an alternate-history British Empire. Holmes himself appears only in a flashback during the first series, as he is still presumed dead. Mycroft has a more substantial role in the second series. References in the series suggest Sherlock was a member of an earlier iteration of the League. Moriarty also figures into the first series and the film adaptation. Holmes also makes a minor but significant appearance in Warren Ellis and John Cassaday's comic book series Planetary.

    Michael P. Hodel and Sean M. Wright presented a mystery-adventure Enter the Lion: A Posthumous Memoir of Mycroft Holmes (1979) in which Sherlock's older brother prevents a conspiracy involving a return of the American "colonies" to Great Britain. Sherlock makes appearances with Victor Trevor (from The Adventure of the Gloria Scott), Professor Moriarty and Moriarty's father.

    Carole Nelson Douglas has written a spin-off series centring upon Holmes' nemesis Irene Adler. The first book is titled Good Night, Mr. Holmes and takes place concurrently with A Scandal in Bohemia. While Irene Adler is the main character, Sherlock Holmes plays a role in every book in the series.

    Michael Mallory has written a series of short stories and one novel (Murder in the Bath) about the second wife of Doctor Watson, here named "Amelia Watson." Holmes appears in several of the stories as a semi-antagonistic foil for Amelia—a detective who is in reality slightly less than infallible, but who has been made to appear so to the public through Watson's writings.

    In Kim Newman's alternate history novel Anno Dracula, set in a world where Dracula becomes the monarch of Britain, Holmes is one of the prominent "warms" to protest against the new order. The vampire government of Lord Ruthven in turn imprisons him in a concentration camp in Devil's Dyke, Sussex.

    Holmes and Watson appear briefly in George MacDonald Fraser's short story Flashman and the Tiger (1999), which appears in the collection of that name. The events there are consistent with those of the canonical story The Adventure of the Empty House, which takes place in 1894. Holmes sees Flashman disguised as a tramp and draws a series of conclusions about him which are all wrong.

    Holmes and Watson also appear in Alan Coren's children's books, Arthur and the Great Detective and Arthur and the Bellybutton Diamond. The titular Arthur is an erstwhile Baker Street Irregular.

    In 2006, best-selling author and military historian Caleb Carr (perhaps best known for The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness, both featuring Holmes-reminiscent protagonist Laszlo Kreizler) penned The Italian Secretary, a "continuing adventure of Sherlock Holmes." Dr. John Watson and Mycroft Holmes play significant parts in this story, and other follow-on/related works (including, but not limited to, a Holmes/Kreiszler crossover) may be forthcoming.

    In 1993 the psychologist Keith Oatley wrote The Case of Emily V., a novel in which Sigmund Freud, Watson and Sherlock Holmes turn out to be investigating the same person. This book won the 1994 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Novel. In Oatley's book the reader finds out the "real truth" behind Freud's case notes on Emily V.

    In the Doctor Who Virgin New Adventures novel All-Consuming Fire by Andy Lane the Time Lord meets Holmes and Watson while investigating a recent theft from the Library of St. John the Beheaded, revealed to be the work of Holmes's unknown eldest brother Sherringford (sic), Holmes in the end being forced to kill Sherringford (sic) to save Watson. They are later amongst numerous characters from the series who attend Bernice Summerfield's wedding in Happy Endings by Paul Cornell. Holmes also features in the Faction Paradox novel Erasing Sherlock by Kelly Hale and in the novelette The Shape of Things by Stuart Douglas in the Iris Wildthyme collection Miss Wildthyme and Friends Investigate. Mycroft Holmes, Dr John Watson and Professor George Challenger also appear in the same book.

    Boris Akunin's short story The Prisoner of the Tower, or A Short But Beautiful Journey of Three Wise Men in the Jade Rosary Beads compilation describes Holmes and Erast Fandorin's race to thwart a devious extortion plan by Arsène Lupin.

    A parody exists in the 2010 Chick-fil-A calendar "Great Works of Cow Literature" where Holmes is referred to in February as Steerlock Holmes.

    Author Nancy Springer writes a series of novels of the adventures of Enola Holmes, the much younger teenage sister of Sherlock and Mycroft. Upon their mother's disappearance, Enola discovers that she in fact left of her own volition according to a carefully devised plan to live independently and raised her daughter with the skills to do the same if she chose to. Finding the resources her mother carefully hid for her, Enola decides to run away rather than be forced into boarding school by Mycroft. She eventually comes to London where she secretly sets herself up in business as a private investigator when she realises she is equally as talented at the profession as her older brother even as she is determined to elude his notice.

    Holmes cameos at the end of Detective Comics #572, the comic series' 50th anniversary issue, helping Batman, Robin, The Elongated Man, and Slam Bradley tie up a case involving the descendants of both Dr. Watson and Professor Moriarty. Well over a century old now, Holmes attributes his longevity to "a proper diet, a certain distillation of royal jelly, developed in my beekeeping days, and the rarified (sic) atmosphere of Tibet, where I keep my primary residence." He apparently gave up tobacco, too, indicating that his pipe was now "purely for show."


    In Star Trek: The Next Generation, a Sherlock Holmes mystery was one of the programmes on the Enterprise-D's holodeck. In the episode Elementary, Dear Data, Data, after memorising all of the Sherlock Holmes books, is challenged to use deduction in an original mystery created by Dr. Pulaski. However, the programme goes awry when Geordi La Forge, in response to Pulaski's challenge, asks the computer to create an adversary capable of defeating Data, resulting in the hologram of Professor Moriarty (played by Daniel Davis) gaining full sentience, kidnapping Dr. Pulaski and taking over the ship's computer. In a later episode, Ship in a Bottle, the holodeck Moriarty again takes control of the ship, insisting that a way be found for him to experience life beyond the confines of the holodeck, until the crew manage to trap him in a permanent simulation. The first Holmes-based episode was produced with the understanding that Sherlock Holmes was public domain, but a protest from the Doyle estate indicated otherwise (and, it is rumoured, prevented a plan for Data-as-Holmes to become a recurring character).

    An elderly Holmes and Watson appear in a sketch of comedy show That Mitchell and Webb Look, where Holmes is portrayed as an increasingly senile old man whose flawed deductions are merely humoured by Watson to try to make his old friend feel better; the sketch ends on a tearful note as Holmes, his mind briefly clear, admits to Watson that he knows that his powers are failing him but simply cannot think clearly enough to get past his age.


  • Disney's The Great Mouse Detective (1986), also known as Basil of Baker Street, was a relatively successful theatrical feature animated film based on the books of Eve Titus, featuring a miniature subworld of London with mice, rats and cats in the lead roles. The title character is a mouse who lives in 221B Baker St and models his own detective career on Holmes, who lives at the same address and makes a cameo appearance.
  • In one episode of The Fairly Oddparents Holmes is portrayed in stereotypical attire; he starts every sentence with "elementary, my dear (whomever he is addressing)" and will always know the answer to every single question posed to him about the asker.
  • In the VeggieTales episode, Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler, Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato portray vegetable versions of Holmes and Watson, respectively, in order to teach a lesson on friendship.
  • Successors of Sherlock Holmes

    These stories treat Sherlock Holmes as an historical character but concern themselves with one of his successors — biological or spiritual — who usually take after him in some way, e.g. being good detectives.


    In the 1977 spoof The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It, John Cleese plays Arthur Sherlock Holmes, grandson of the famous sleuth, alongside Watson's grandson, played by Arthur Lowe.


    The Adventures of Shirley Holmes is the story of the teenage Anglo-Canadian grandniece of Sherlock Holmes, Shirley, who after discovering some of Sherlock Holmes' effects (which he had concealed to ensure that only a fitting successor of similar intellect would find them), goes on to solve many crimes and mysteries with the assistance of her male Watson-like friend, Bo Sawchuk. She also has a Moriarty-like arch-enemy in the form of Molly Hardy.


    In Hidan no Aria series, the character Aria Holmes Kanzake is the descendant of Sherlock Holmes. Tantei Opera Milky Holmes has four protagonists named after famous literary detectives, and they even adopt the iconic deerstalker into their uniform.


    August Derleth's Holmes-inspired sleuth Solar Pons is an obvious and early homage to Holmes. Derleth began to write the stories in 1928 after asking permission of Arthur Conan Doyle to continue the series of Sherlock Holmes stories (it was denied). The first collection of Pons stories was published in 1948, and Derleth's stories are contained in 13 additional books, several published after his death in 1971. Basil Copper continued the Pons series with an additional eight books, the most recent published in 2005.

    The protagonist of Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose. Friar William of Baskerville and his novice Adso (who, like Watson, is the narrator), are patterned on Holmes and Watson. William of Baskerville is physically similar to Holmes, has the habit of addressing his companion with "My dear Adso" and the story itself is about a strictly rational brain following a path of investigation of a seemingly inexplicable chain of violent deaths.

    Poul Anderson wrote several stories in which characters modelled themselves on Holmes, including "The Martian Crown Jewels", "The Queen of Air and Darkness", and "The Adventure of the Misplaced Hound".

    In Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966), one of the characters is a computer, a model "HOLMES IV", which adopts the name Mycroft, after Sherlock Holmes' brother.

    Julian Symons created a character named Sheridan Haynes, an actor immersed in the role of Holmes for an epic project to adapt the entire canon for television (almost ten years before Jeremy Brett took up a similar challenge), in the 1975 novel A Three Pipe Problem. Haynes finds himself confusing his own identity with Holmes', and becomes involved in a mystery. The character returned for a 1988 sequel, The Kentish Manor Murders, and Symons also wrote a Holmes short story pastiche.

    Michael Chabon's novella The Final Solution (2004) features an unnamed protagonist that is likely a retired Holmes. The story takes place during World War II, and features the Holmes character investigating the appearance of a mute boy with a parrot who repeatedly calls a string of seemingly random numbers in German. References to Holmes are plentiful: the protagonist is a bee keeper, is familiar with detectives in London, and smokes a pipe. The title simultaneously refers to the Nazi plan for genocide hinted at in the book and mirrors one of Doyle's own shorts, "The Final Problem".

    Charles Hamilton under the pseudonym Peter Todd wrote almost 100 short parodies of the Holmes short stories from 1915 onwards. The characters became Herlock Sholmes and Dr Jotson, living in a Shaker Street apartment; and the sophisticated deductive reasoning of the original became absurdity in the spoofs, which were mainly published in a range of boys' comics of the period (The Greyfriars Herald, The Magnet, The Gem, etc.). Although satirical and often mocking contemporary mores (and World War I shortages), the stories had a real feel for the dialogue and structure of the originals. They were all reprinted in The Complete Casebook of Herlock Sholmes (Hawk Books 1989).

    Spanish author Alberto López Aroca created the character of Sholomon Hume in his brief novel "Estudio en Esmeralda" (Study in Emerald), originally published in Fábulas Extrañas 29 and 30 (1997), and later reprinted in "A por cadáveres" (2003).


    Douglas Fairbanks played a cocaine-addicted Holmes spoof named "Coke Enneday" in The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916). Many of this "scientific" detective's possessions are checkered in the Holmes manner, including his detective hat, jacket, and even his car, and whenever he feels momentarily dejected, he nonchalantly extracts yet another syringe from a bandolier on his chest and quickly injects himself with cocaine, laughing in merriment as an immediate result.

    In 1924, comedian Buster Keaton made Sherlock, Jr., about a film projectionist who dreams of becoming a great detective.

    The 1971 film They Might Be Giants, adapted from James Goldman's 1961 British stage play of the same name, featured George C. Scott as a widowed judge named Justin Playfair who imagines himself to be Holmes. When his brother seeks to have him committed, he is brought to Dr. Mildred Watson (Joanne Woodward).

    In The Return of the World's Greatest Detective (1976 TV movie) a rather ineffectual Los Angeles cop, and avid fan of Sherlock Holmes, named Sherman Holmes (played by American actor Larry Hagman) suffers a brain injury when his parked motorcycle tips over and falls onto his head (he was lying beside it, reading). He wakes with both the unshakeable delusion that he is Sherlock Holmes and that he possesses all of Holmes' incredible deductive abilities. His friend and case-worker, Dr. Joan Watson (Jenny O'Hara), moves him to Apartment B of 221 Baker Street, where he becomes involved in the murder of an embezzler. Nicholas Colasanto also stars as Lt. Tinker, Holmes' former superior, who is in charge of the murder investigation. Reviewers of the day pointed out parallels to They Might Be Giants.

    The 1986 Soviet comedy My Dearly Beloved Detective features two women (Shirley Holmes and Jane Watson) opening a private detective agency in London, to the displeasure of Scotland Yard at the competitors. Sherlock Holmes is fictional in the setting.

    Zero Effect, loosely based on the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia", features Bill Pullman as Daryl Zero, a neurotic detective who is only in his element when on a case, and Ben Stiller as Watson-like assistant Steve Arlo. Set in modern Portland, Oregon, the search for a shady businessman's lost keys reveals a plot involving murder, blackmail, and secret identities. Instead of cocaine, Zero's occasional need for mental stimulation leads to experimentation with the drug Mescaline. In the film, Zero indicates that he has mastered his technique of "Observation and Objectivity" – or as he calls them, "The Two Obs".

    Sherlock Holmes also inspired Satyajit Ray, an Indian film maker, to create the character Pradosh Mitter. Mitter, affectionately called Feluda, was immensely popular in Bengal. Feluda used the method of deduction to solve his cases, most of which were set in Calcutta. Ray even made some movies with Feluda as hero, including Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress). Additionally, the Bengali writer Saradindu Bandyopadhyay also had a detective named Byomkesh Bakshi, which had some resemblance to Doyle's Holmes. In many ways Bakshi was different from the "drug-addict" bachelor image that Holmes had. Bakshi was married and had few addictions except that of a cigarette. In many ways, Byomkesh's character was distinctly different from that of Holmes. However both used deductions and were astute observers. In their character portrayal though the biggest difference lies. The frequently brooding trait in Holmes' character was not found in the cheerful portrayal of Byomkesh Bakshi. The adventures of Bakshi was later developed into a television series that was aired in Doordarshan, India's premier TV channel during those times, in the early 1990s. The series featuring Rajit Kapoor as Byomkesh Bakshi, telecast on the Doordarshan, inspired a lot of Indians to read the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and re-read the works of Saradindu Bandyopadhyay.


    Sherlock Hemlock is a muppet character based on Sherlock Holmes, who appears on the American children's programme Sesame Street.

    The highly popular CSI: Crime Scene Investigation featured an entire episode circling around the death of a man who held 'mystery nights' with a group of friends in which they roleplayed as Holmes characters and solved invented crimes; his basement was an exact replica of Sherlock Holmes' 221B Baker Street parlour, and he emulated everything Holmes did in the books – from his smoking to his cocaine addiction. The episode was called "Who Shot Sherlock?" CSI is also notable for the lead character, Gil Grissom, whose personality and methods often parallel those of Holmes.

    The pilot episode of the well-remembered series, Murder, She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury, aired on 30 September 1984. The story had to do with her character, mystery writer Jessica Fletcher, searching out the murderer of Caleb McCallum (played by Brian Keith) who is killed at a masquerade party where he is dressed in deerstalker cap and cape-coat. It was titled "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes".

    Andy Breckman, head writer of Monk, admitted to copying Adrian Monk from Conan Doyle "almost as if I used a Xerox machine".


    In Warner Bros. long-running Looney Tunes cartoon show, Daffy Duck did a turn as "Dorlock Holmes" in the episode "Deduce, You Say", first shown in 1956. In this episode, Dorlock Holmes (festooned in deerstalker cap and residing on Beeker Street) and his assistant Watkins (played by Porky Pig) must track down the Shropshire Slasher.

    Several Dick Tracy animated cartoons centre around a white bulldog, helmeted like a London bobby, named Hemlock Holmes.

    Sherlock Holmes is extremely popular in Japan, and was an inspiration for the Japanese anime and manga, Case Closed (Detective Conan in Japan), where the main character, Jimmy Kudo (Shin'ichi Kudo), takes his pseudonym, Conan Edogawa, from two detective fiction authors, Edogawa Rampo and Arthur Conan Doyle. Incidentally Edogawa Rampo took his name from Edgar Allan Poe, the American writer known as the 'Father' of detective fiction.

    Video games

    Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is a CD-ROM based video game released for the Sega CD, TurboGrafx-16, and both IBM and Apple computers. Each game in the series uses full motion video clips as you control Holmes and Watson through three different cases.

    Mario Party Advance, a video game released in 2005, includes a character named Shroomlock, a mushroom version of Sherlock Holmes. Dai Gyakuten Saiban is a video game on the Nintendo 3DS that includes Holmes as a detective working with John Watson's relative Iris Watson. John Watson appears as a victim.


    The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra is a comedy album created by The Firesign Theatre featuring Hemlock Stones and Flotsam.


    Sherlock Holmes pastiches Wikipedia