Our 10 Favorite Lines from Sherlock the TV Series

Sherlock.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle brought him to life in print, but of all actors that have brought him to life on screen; none have done so quite like Benedict Cumberbatch.  Sherlock makes a seamless transition to the 21st century with Cumberbatch at the helm, and it’s a character that you immediately identify and possibly empathize with; or, you are simply intrigued by his “high-functioning sociopath” behavior.


I’m a proud member of the fandom that began in 2010, and one of the many that are anxiously awaiting the series’ return in 2017.  The previous seasons are a streaming repeat on my television at home, and tablet when I travel.  While we all patiently (or not so patiently) wait, I’d like to share some of my favorite quotes from the series.

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Top 10 Mystery Sleuths to Kill For

The first mystery ever published was Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue, in which the brilliant sleuth Auguste Dupin solved a crime that had everyone else baffled.  And thus, our fascination with mystery novels and their brilliant (or just plain lucky) sleuths began.  Today, the mystery genre is the top-selling fiction genre, with more than 1,000 new mystery novels being published each year. With so many books available, how is anyone to know which brilliant sleuths to follow?  Well, I asked our 3,000 Bibliomaniacs to give me 10 mystery sleuths worth killing for, and they solved the mystery (Okay, that was hokey.)

  1. Sherlock Holmes (created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
  2. Nero Wolfe (created by Rex Stout)
  3. Stephanie Plum (created by Janet Evanovich)
  4. Nancy Drew (created by the Startemeyer Syndicate under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene)
  5. Hercule Poirot (created by Agatha Christie)
  6. Encyclopedia Brown (created by Donald Sobel)
  7. Miss Marple (created by Agatha Christie)
  8. Harry Hole (created by Jo Nesbo)
  9. Martin Beck (created by Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo)
  10. Kurt Wallander (created by Henning Mankell)

The fact that Sherlock Holmes was at the top of this list may have been no mystery, but some of the others are new to me, which means another trip to Half Price is in my future.

So what mystery sleuth is your favorite? — Julie

Julie is Production Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You may follow her on Twitter at @auntjewey.

June’s New Releases on DVD & Blu-Ray

I know the summer movie season has officially kicked off, but I didn’t want you to forget about some of the great titles hitting the stores this month.

The Color of Money (June 5 release) This is the 1986 sequel to the 1961 film about pool sharks, The Hustler, starring Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman. Newman reprises his role as “Fast” Eddie Felson, still believing a dollar won is better than a dollar earned. This time he takes flamboyant Vincent, played by Tom Cruise, under his wing to teach him how to be a hustler. Directed by legendary director Martin Scorsese, this movie finally won Newman his elusive Best Actor Oscar and his performance is worthy of it. This film is in great need of a new transfer, as the DVD version of this movie was not even widescreen enhanced.  This is an easy choice for an upgrade. Also look for A Perfect World, Ransom, Scent of a Woman, Erin Brockovich and John Carter on June 5.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (June 12 release) A very exciting film to finally make it to Blu-Ray, Game of Shadows (2011) reunites Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in this action-packed follow up to Sherlock Holmes (2009). This movie really takes the Holmes/Watson relationship to another level, and along with a clever plot and the Downey Jr. humor we are all growing to love, this is a film everyone will enjoy. Also look for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance on June 12.

Empire of the Sun (June 19 release) When you think Steven Spielberg you think Jurassic Park, The Indiana Jones movies, Jaws and Schindler’s List. Yes, all great films, but I think this 1987 film has been grossly underrated. After watching it I hope you agree. The movie is about Jim, a boy whose privileged life is turned upside down during the Japanese invasion of Shanghai. Jim is played by none-other than Batman himself, Christian Bale. Also cast in the movie are John Malkovich and Ben Stiller, who were both pretty much unknown at the time. I encourage you to see this film at least once in your life.  Also look for Big Miracle and Evita on June 19.

The Artist (June 26 release) Finally the Best Picture winner from 2011 gets released. One of only two silent movies to win Best Picture, the other being Wings back in 1927. Shot in glorious black and white, this film is a true movie experience. It is about a silent film actor who is getting left behind as sound is coming to movies and the “Talkies” are born. Jean Dujardin gives the performance of his career, as it brought him the Best Actor Oscar last year. A must see for sure! Also look for Wrath of the Titans, 21 Jump Street, Mirror Mirror and the Criterion release of Alfred Hitchcock’s 39 Steps on June 26.

Enjoy the movies!


Elementary, my dear Conan Doyle!

Being an insatiable trivia hound and a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast, I can think of no better way to celebrate the birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the mastermind behind Sherlock Holmes – than to share a few interesting facts about the author and his most famous character.

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
About Conan Doyle:

  • Conan Doyle came from a very artistic, well-connected family. Both his grandfather and his Uncle Dicky were artists, and men like Walter Scott, William Thackeray and Charles Dickens were frequent dinner guests at the Doyle house.
  • Conan Doyle attended university with James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • His first short story, “The Mystery of Sasassa Valley,” was influenced by the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Bret Hart, two of his favorite authors.
  • Conan Doyle was offered, and took the post of ship’s surgeon on the whaling boat Hope during his third year in medical school.
  • Conan Doyle’s first novel, A Study in Scarlet, in which we are introduced to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, was originally titled A Tangled Skein and the two main characters were named Sheridan Hope and Ormond Sacker.
  • The character of Sherlock Holmes was inspired by Dr. Joseph Bell, one of Conan Doyle’s teachers at university who was a master at observation, logic, deduction and diagnosis.
  • Much to his chagrin, Sherlock Holmes has remained Conan Doyle’s most famous and best loved character. Conan Doyle actually preferred writing historical novels over the Sherlock Holmes adventures.

“My dear fellow, life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.”
About Sherlock Holmes:

  • One of Sherlock’s most famous sayings, “Elementary, my dear Watson,” was never used in Conan Doyle’s novels or short stories. It wasn’t until Sherlock’s first feature film with sound that Sherlock uttered those words.
  • Sherlock’s drug of choice was cocaine, but he would occasionally use morphine as well, both of which were legal drugs in the late 19th century England.
  •  All the techniques of forensic science advocated by Sherlock Holmes in his adventures later became a reality, but were generally in their infancy at the time Conan Doyle was writing.
  •  In 2002, the Royal Society of Chemistry bestowed an honorary fellowship on Sherlock Holmes for his use of forensic science and analytical chemistry in popular literature.  He is the only fictional character to have this honor.
  • Sherlock is also the only fictional character to have been given a real life Knighthood by the British Monarchy (along with his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle).

Well, happy birthday, Mr. Conan Doyle.  Thank you for the gift of Sherlock Holmes, who has captivated the world with his crass, antisocial behavior and astute deductive reasoning.
Want to read more about Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? Look for the novels, short stories, and biographies at your local Half Price Books. — Julie

Great Detectives in Film

With the holiday movie season being in full swing, one of the anticipated sequels is Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. To me Sherlock Holmes is probably the most popular detective in history, hands down. It made me wonder if there are any other detectives as popular. My guess is no, but here are some that make the top of the list as memorable detectives in film.

JJ Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson in Chinatown (1974) – One of Nicholson’s best characters in my opinion. He plays a detective that specializes in matrimonial cases. Hired by Ms. Mulwray to follow a suspicious husband. Things get dark and twisted as Gittes starts to suspect he is being set up finding the person who hired him wasn’t Ms. Mulwray at all. This movie contains a famous movie quote you may have heard before: “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.” A top notch detective film noir type of thriller! And a great 70s throwback flick to see Nicholson in his younger years.

Great Film Detective Trivia: Because this film was the first of a planned trilogy, Nicholson turned down all detective roles he was offered so that the only detective he played would be Jake Gittes.

Sam Spade, played by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon (1941) – This film isn’t film noir like, this is film noir at its best. Things start going wrong for Sam Spade right away as his partner is killed on a case. Trying to clear his own name, he discovers a sinister plot to obtain the rare and valuable Maltese Falcon. It contains some great lines for Spade’s character too – “I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble” and “We didn’t exactly believe your story, Miss O’Shaughnessy. We believed your 200 dollars. I mean, you paid us more than if you had been telling us the truth, and enough more to make it all right.” A true must see classic! If you’ve never seen it before, I highly recommend it.

Great Film Detective Trivia: Word-for-word and scene-for-scene, Maltese Falcon is virtually the same as the original novel published in 1930.

Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry (1971) – The roof-top killer Scorpio is loose in San Francisco and is demanding money or he will kill again. Just put Dirty Harry on the case. Known for his “dirty” attitude and blunt way of handling situations, Clint Eastwood created one of the more memorable police detectives in film history. Even if you have never seen the film or its sequels, it’s memorable lines proceed the character: “Go ahead, make my day.”

Great Film Detective Trivia: Warner Brothers orignially sought out Frank Sinatra to play the role of Callahan. When he turned it down, they offered it to Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.

Those are my favorite film detectives. What are some of your favorites? If you are headed to the theater to see the new Sherlock Holmes, be sure to pick up the first film, Sherlock Holmes (2009), on DVD or Blu-Ray at HPB and get up to speed on the adventure. And always remember, no talking or texting during the movies!

— Jim