Hey speed-readers. With 221b Con fast approaching it’s not too late to dive in to our 221b Con recommended reading list.
This year’s book club discussion choices:
The Annual 221b Con Canon Book Club
This year’s theme is ‘The Jewels in the Crown’.
We will be discussing The Adventure of the Golden Pince-nez, Silver Blaze, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet, and The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone. So break out your annotated canon and join us for some fun.
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre.
Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked - but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.
A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him - body, soul and secrets - and what if he discovers her murderous past.
As a young medical student, Arthur Conan Doyle studied in Edinburgh under the vigilant eye of a diagnostic genius, Dr. Joseph Bell. Doyle often observed Bell identifying a patient’s occupation, hometown, and ailments from the smallest details of dress, gait, and speech. Although Doyle was training to be a surgeon, he was meanwhile cultivating essential knowledge that would feed his literary dreams and help him develop the most iconic detective in fiction.
Michael Sims traces the circuitous development of Conan Doyle as the father of the modern mystery, from his early days in Edinburgh surrounded by poverty and violence, through his escape to University (where he gained terrifying firsthand knowledge of poisons), leading to his own medical practice in 1882. Five hardworking years later–after Doyle’s only modest success in both medicine and literature–Sherlock Holmes emerged in A Study in Scarlet. Sims deftly shows Holmes to be a product of Doyle’s varied adventures in his personal and professional life, as well as built out of the traditions of Edgar Allan Poe, Émile Gaboriau, Wilkie Collins, and Charles Dickens–not just a skillful translator of clues, but a veritable superhero of the mind in the tradition of Doyle’s esteemed teacher.
Sherlock Holmes, Dracula. An epic mystery pits the super sleuth against the supernatural forces of the evil count as Moriarty has enlisted the aid of Dracula to plunge London into a new dark age. Holmes, with the assistance of Professor Van Helsing, must turn to the famed actress Sarah Bernhard to uncover the clues that will bring this impossible case to a close.