Edmonds Booktalk: No shortage of reads about Sherlock Holmes

Elaine Mattson
Elaine Mattson

I love it when a piece of literature spills over into popular culture and becomes such an integral part of the contemporary zeitgeist. And don’t you love when you get the inside jokes and references because of the books you read? Fantastic.

Sherlock Holmes has been in movies and on TV and in other books almost since the moment Sir Arthur Conan Doyle breathed life into him in 1887.

He has been on TV and in the movies: a couple of recent movies starring Robert Downey Jr.; and one starring Ian McKellen, as a retired Mr. Holmes; also a couple of current TV series: “Elementary,” with Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson; and of course, my favorite, the PBS version starring Benedict Cumberbatch. [Sherlock, series 4 is about to begin filming, but no release date has been announced yet. The earliest possibility seems to be January 2017.]

And books, of course! Many, many books star or co-star or channel Sherlock Holmes. A few of the most recent and recommended follow.

MurderWe have to start with one many of us have been waiting for: “The Murder of Mary Russell” by Laurie R. King. This bestselling Mary Russell–Sherlock Holmes series weaves rich historical detail and provocative themes with intriguing characters and enthralling suspense. King’s Russell and Holmes have become one of modern literature’s most beloved teams. The 10th book in the series finally coming April 5, 2016!

A few more alphabetically by title:

  • “The Fifth Heart” by Dan Simmons. In 1893, Sherlock Holmes and Henry James come to America together to look into a mysterious death . Holmes has recently faked his own death because, through his great deductive powers, he has come to the conclusion that he is a fictional character. This leads to serious complications for Mr. James–for if his esteemed fellow investigator is merely a work of fiction, what does that make him?
  • “Jackaby” by William Ritter. Newly arrived in New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. “Sherlock Holmes crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” —Chicago Tribune
  • “The Map of Time: A Novel” by Félix J. Palma. This rollicking page-turner with a cast of real and imagined literary characters in Victorian-Age London with cunning intertwined plots stars a skeptical H.G. Wells as a time-traveling investigator. “The Map of the Sky” and “The Map of Chaos” round out the trilogy.
  • “White Fire: An Agent Pendergast Novel” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. At an exclusive Colorado ski resort to rescue his protégée from serious trouble with the law, Pendergast uncovers a mysterious connection between dead miners and a fabled, long-lost Sherlock Holmes story–one that might just offer the key to the modern day killings as well.

April Events at The Edmonds Bookshop:

April 21, 2016. 5 – 8 p.m. Third Thursday Art Walk. April is National Poetry month. Join us to celebrate with an evening of readings by amazing poets! This year we are thrilled to be featuring the following local poets:

  • Lana Hechtman Ayers. “A New Red”
  • David D. Horowitz. “Cathedral and Highrise”
  • Christopher Jarmick. “Not Aloud”
  • Herb McClees. “Heaven’s Drumhead”
  • Joannie Stangeland. “In Both Hands”

The readings will begin about 7 p.m.; join us early to mix and mingle [and snack]!

independent bookstore dayApril 30, 2016. Saturday, all day.  Independent Bookstore Day!

We already have a few great things planned:

  • One of our very favorite local authors, Jim Lynch, will be in the store starting at noon, signing copies of his fantastic new novel “Before the Wind.”
  • And, a bonus gift for anyone spending more than $25… A lovely “Eat. Sleep. Read.” tote bag!
  • We are also going to help you be a part of a record-setting Tattoo Chain!! Free temporary tattoos for you to apply and, photograph and become a part of the story of: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!” The goal is to complete the chain [and the story!] on Independent Bookstore Day 2016. Check out some of the favorite submissions here.

Check our Events Page for more information and for other featured events as we get closer to the day.

April 2016 Book Club Book.

an unnecessary womanApril 7 & 20, 2016. “Unnecessary Woman” by Rabih Alameddine. A breathtaking portrait of one reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, which garnered a wave of rave reviews and love letters to Alameddine’s cranky yet charming septuagenarian protagonist, Aaliya, a character you “can’t help but love” (NPR). The gifted author has given us a nuanced rendering of one woman’s life in the Middle East and an enduring ode to literature and its power to define who we are.

There is a brief, but very interesting, interview with the author on his publisher’s website.

We have chosen the books for the next few months. They are listed on our Book Club page.

Recent book releases of note:

“The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero” by Timothy Egan. From the National Book Award–winning and best-selling author comes the epic story of one of the most fascinating and colorful Irishman in nineteenth-century America. A [2/28/16] review in The Seattle Times. And Mary Ann Gwinn’s Lit Life column features an interview with the author.

H Is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald. One of the New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year and on more than 25 ‘Best Books of the Year’ lists. A genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices. Now in paperback.

Leaving Berlin: A Novel” by Joseph Kanon. Berlin, 1948. A sweeping spy thriller about a city caught between political idealism and the harsh realities of Soviet occupation. Now in paperback.

“Uprooted” by Naomi Novik. The bestselling author introduces a bold new world rooted in folk stories and legends, as elemental as a Grimm fairy tale. Named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR. Now in paperback.

The Travelers: A Novel” by Chris Pavone. A pulse-racing international thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of staff recommended The Expats. And chosen for March IndieBound.

Spill Simmer Falter Wither” by Sara Baume. This captivating debut novel follows the story — over the course of four seasons — of a misfit man who adopts a misfit dog. Chosen for March IndieBound.

Books of note coming soon:
As mentioned earlier, “The Murder of Mary Russell: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes” by Laurie R. King. This series weaves rich historical detail and provocative themes with intriguing characters and enthralling suspense. Does this adventure end it all? There is death here, and murder, and trust betrayed. And nothing will ever be the same. April 5, 2016.

“The Water Knife” by Paolo Bacigalupi. The National Book Award finalist delivers a near-future thriller that casts new light on how we live today—and what may be in store for us tomorrow. Staff recommended. Now in paperback. April 5, 2016.

“My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: A Novel“ by Fredrik Backman. A charming, warmhearted novel from the author of the bestseller “A Man Called Ove.” Now in paperback. April 5, 2016.

“The Children’s Crusade: A Novel” by Ann Packer. From the bestselling, award-winning author, comes a “tour de force family drama” (Elle) that explores the secrets and desires, the remnant wounds and saving graces of one California family, over the course of five decades. Now in paperback. April 5, 2016.

“The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” by Sy Montgomery. By turns funny, entertaining, touching and profound, this reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds. Now in paperback. April 7, 2016.

“Emma: A Modern Retelling” by Alexander McCall Smith. Carriages have been replaced by Mini Coopers and cups of tea by cappuccinos, but Alexander McCall Smith’s sparkling satire and cozy sensibility are the perfect match for Jane Austen’s beloved tale. Now in paperback. April 5, 2016.

“Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” by Sam Quinones. One of The Seattle Times’ Best Books of 2015. Winner of The National Book Critics Circle Award. Now in paperback. April 5, 2016.

“Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence” by Bryan Burrough. An explosive account of the decade-long battle between the FBI and the homegrown revolutionary movements of the 1970s. Now in paperback. April 5, 2016.

Before the wind“Before the Wind: A Novel” by Jim Lynch. Following 3 bestselling [and staff favorite!] novels, we get a grand and idiosyncratic family saga. April 19, 2016. Mr. Lynch will be here in the store, Saturday, April 30 at noon.

For teen readers “The Raven King” by Maggie Stiefvater. The series that began with “The Raven Boys” comes to a close answering questions that have dogged readers over the previous books. Will Gansey finally find the Welsh king Glendower? Will he die if he kisses Blue? Will anyone survive the dark forces gathering around Henrietta, Virginia? We will soon find out. April 26, 2016.

As always, check our website for all the latest in book news.

Happy reading!

— By Elaine Mattson

Edmonds native Elaine Mattson has worked at The Edmonds Bookshop off and on since she was 12 years old, and has also worked at a book wholesaler, a book publisher, and for the book publishing division of a large local software company (yes, that one). “I was raised a book lover [thanks, Mom!],” Mattson says. “We got book lights by our beds as soon as we were old enough to read. And then I probably got in trouble for reading too late the very next night. And I still read too late!”

One Reply to “Edmonds Booktalk: No shortage of reads about Sherlock Holmes”

  1. This is the fourteen Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mystery, not the tenth. Just wanted to clear that up.


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