Can't seem to puzzle out the answer to what you're Sherlockian wants for the holidays? Mystery Scene has selected a few of our favorites from gift guides past and present to help you solve the case.
Even better than Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this mash-up of The Hound of the Baskervilles stars you! (Or your loved ones, or zombies if that's really what you're into.) You'll get to change the names of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Sir Henry Baskerville, Sir Charles Baskerville, Sir Hugo Baskerville, and Jack Stapleton. Register your customized changes and receive your own private edition, with your Holmes lover as the sleuthing star. If you're not planning on letting your giftee personalize his or her own work, order this one quick, as books have a 28-day turnaround from the time of registration.
Need a place to put those charm bracelets? How about a finely detailed, hand-painted, enameled porcelain (and eminently collectible) Limoges box? Sure to interest the discerning mystery fan are the Sherlock Holmes Limoges Box (www.limogesboutique.com, $254.00), which comes in the shape of two Holmes books, the upper one boasting arguably the most famous silhouette of all time (plus a teeny, tiny magnifying glass, also in porcelain), and the Edgar Allan Poe Limoges Box ($189.00) which features a book by Poe and—what else?—a raven.
Yes, it's true! The worlds's most popular fictional character finally comes to the world's most ubiquitous reference series, and the results are everything you'd expect: comprehensive, cheeky, and surprisingly readable, clearly written by someone who knows and loves their stuff. Except for the geekiest of geeks, this is more Holmes than most folks will ever need, featuring historical backgrounds, novel-by-novel breakdowns of the entire canon, plus memorable quotes, essays on Holmes' impact on literature, mystery writing, and detective work, subsequent portrayals in television and film, theatrical presentation, and pastiche.
$280-$300 The Detective
For those of you not afraid of doing a little detective work yourself, may we suggest Royal Doulton’s The Detective? Designed by M. Nicoll, figurine #HN 2359, as the Royal Doulton folks call it, is increasingly difficult (but not yet impossible) to find and is highly sought after, particularly by Sherlock Holmes fans. This finely detailed reproduction of you-know-who has him in all his deerstalkered glory pondering a clue through his magnifying glass. He stands 9.25”, and was last issued in 1983, but is still available for under $300 dollars from various sources around the web. “Watson, my credit card. The game’s afoot!”
$19.99 The Lost Cases of Sherlock Holmes 2
(Legacy, available for PC/Mac), the logical sequel to last year’s acclaimed computer game, once again offers plenty of clever puzzles (and more than a few groaners from Watson), as Holmes stalks the streets of London to tackle 16 crimes of murder, theft, kidnapping and other forms of treachery. By the way, this is the first time a video game has been licensed by both the Sherlock Holmes Company and the Conan Doyle Estate.
I.N.J. Culbard and Ian Edginton’s masterful graphic novel adaptation of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sterling, 2009) is purportedly aimed at young readers—Culbard’s artwork may seem almost goofy at times—but Doyle’s moody, atmospheric tale of murder on the moors and a family cursed by a bloodthirsty hound who may or may not exist is still gripping stuff, and will appeal to anyone of any age who enjoys a solid mystery. A few pages in, and you realize you’ve been marching straight into graphic novel quicksand. Even better, Holmes and Watson aren’t “re-envisioned” for a new generation of popcorn-munching, SFX-addicted morons—they’re presented straight up, the way they should be. A classic adaptation, classic all the way through.
Don’t feel like tromping through the moors this holiday? Investigate The Crimes of Dr. Watson (Quick Books, 2007), an attractive book that doubles as an interactive game, compiled by the Great Detective’s good buddy himself (with a little help from modern-day crime scribe Duane Swierczynski). It seems the good doctor isn’t having such a swell day—he’s rotting away in a cold, damp cell, accused (falsely) of a brutal murder. With Holmes MIA, Watson’s only hope is you, dear reader, and so he’s rounded up what scant evidence he can: fragments of a manuscript, a postcard with a cryptic message, a newspaper clipping, a catalogue of Victorian marital aids, a matchbook, a strange telegram, a police report, a train schedule, and a cover letter explaining it all. With beautiful Victorian-style illustrations and first-rate production values, The Crimes of Dr. Watson will appeal to mystery lovers of all ages.