The game's afoot for Sherlock Holmes fans who want to celebrate their favorite fictional sleuth leading up to -- and following -- Sunday's return of the PBS series "Sherlock," starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
To get in an appropriately Sherlockian mood, you can solve a crime (albeit a staged one), join a Holmes literary society or even purchase your own private eye equipment from a local retailer.
A HOLMES RESURGENCE?
Thanks to films such as Robert Downey Jr.'s "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" (2011) and CBS' "Elementary," starring Jonny Lee Miller as the detective and Lucy Liu as sidekick Dr. Watson, Holmes is gaining new and younger fans, says local enthusiast Warren Randall, 78, of South Setauket.
"There's a resurgence of interest in him," Randall says. "A whole new generation has become attracted to the world of Sherlock Holmes."
While younger fans have formed the Baker Street Babes (bakerstreetbabes.com), Randall is a member of the Long Island Cave Dwellers, a literary society with about 30 members in the tri-state area. The group meets occasionally to discuss stories and read Holmes-inspired poetry. To inquire about attending their next meeting, email Randall at email@example.com.
SOLVE A (FICTIONAL) CRIME
Want to try your hand at Holmesian-style deductions? Audience members use clues such as motive and opportunity to help solve the case dramatized onstage by Long Island's Murder Mystery Players, says director Cate Magrane of East Northport. The group's next event is Feb. 8 at Dave & Busters in Islandia.
"Some of the audience members will be called up to participate in the show," Magrane says. They're also invited to guess the name of the murderer before it's revealed in the play. The evening starts at 7:30 with a three-course buffet dinner, followed by the curtain for the show at 8 ($39.25, 631-582-6615).
COMIC BOOK ADVENTURES
Collectors Kingdom, a comics and collectibles shop in Huntington Station (631-549-4336), offers a number of Holmes-inspired comic books, some with an unusual twist. "Sherlock Holmes Mysteries Vol. 1" brings together Holmes and Count Dracula, says Brian Farkas, a store employee. It sells for $22.95. Another Sherlockian comic book, "Sherlock Holmes Year One," goes for about $4, he says.
STOCK UP AT A SPY STORE
You, too, can play detective if you have the right equipment, says Tom Felice, owner of the Spy Shop of Long Island in Northport. Although the 500-square-foot store's private eye items, such as night-vision goggles and a video pen sound more like James Bond gadgets, Felice insists: "If Sherlock Holmes were alive today, he'd be using this kind of equipment."
A longstanding LI Holmes connection
Christopher Morley, the bestselling 20th century author who lived in Roslyn, founded the Baker Street Irregulars, the oldest literary society of Holmes enthusiasts. Morley's one-room studio, the Knothole at Christopher Morley County Park in Roslyn-North Hills, is currently closed to visits by the public.
However, the Baker Street Irregulars continue to thrive and are celebrating the 160th birthday of Sherlock Holmes (his 1854 birth date in the books, not the 1887 date of the first published Holmes novel) with activities all weekend at locations throughout Manhattan.