As regular readers of this column will know, I am a huge fan of detective fiction. Give me a good murder mystery and I will shut myself up for the rest of the day, gobbling it up greedily, devouring every plot twist, chewing on each red herring, and drinking in the denouement with delight.
So you can imagine my joy when I managed to lay my grasping little hands on the latest Anthony Horowitz. The author first brought his brand of magic to the Sherlock Holmes oeuvre with House of Silk. And now he’s dealing with the period immediately after Sherlock’s famous ‘demise’ at the Reichenbach Falls. The book is called Moriarty and that is all I am willing to say at this point, lest I be accused (yet again!) of planting spoilers.
But as I galloped across the pages at breakneck speed, I began to wonder: is Sherlock Holmes the most popular fictional detective of all time? There must be at least four, if not five generations now who have been brought up marveling at his deductive skills and intuitive insights.
And yet his charm – or rather the talent of his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – never seems to fade. Re-read The Hound of the Baskervilles today and you will feel that familiar chill run down your spine. But if you give Holmes first place then who else would feature in the top ten?