“When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”—Sherlock Holmes
My love for everything Sherlockian was sparked not by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, but by Aoyama Gōshō’s famous Meitantei Konan manga and anime series. Ironically, it was Aoyama's works that introduced me to the Canon. Although I grew up in Canada, I was very fortunate to have had access to a small library of Japanese manga. I also grew up watching Japanese crime dramas and police procedurals such as Furuhara Ninzaburō--all thanks to my parent's influence.
Since about the age of 8, or 9 I was fascinated with tales of mystery and crime and became an avid reader of Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Georges Simenon and P.D. James to list but a few of my favorite authors. I collected anything and everything that had the words detective and mystery written on it. When I was in grade 6, my home room teacher taught a unit on mystery fiction, focusing mainly on the works of Agatha Christie. We watched a film adaptation of one of Christie's works, and I can't recall the title, but I clearly remember being frightened from a scene in the film where a woman is found murdered hung with pins, dangling on a clothes line. Despite feeling scared, I became addicted to mystery. One day, my home room teacher held a competition in class, which required us to create a mystery themed book cover. The winner would receive a note pad and pen provided by the Forensic Pathology Branch of Ontario thanks to her father who worked as a detective. How cool is that?! I won that competition and I still have the notepad and envelope that came with it (though, sadly, I’ve lost the pen).
Detective fiction was my calling and in 2012, I pursued my first MA in Popular Culture,Communications & Film, which was prompted by what I perceived was a gap in North American scholarship on manga adaptations of classic detective fiction and Sherlock Holmes. Doing research in my field wasn't easy. At a time when the study of manga was still emerging in Canada, I turned to literary theory and interdisciplinary approaches to trouble definitions of a “Great detective” through a counter-orientalist reading of Aoyama’s manga, which I later revisited in my doctoral work. In 2013, I undertook another MA, but this time in English Literature, to study Japanese adaptations of Jane Austen’s works to further expand my knowledge of manga adaptations of literary classics. The feminist aims of this project inspired me to think critically about definitions of female empowerment and agency, and I began investigating issues of social inequality in Japanese society, which led me to a study of women's participation in the Japanese game industry.
Ultimately, my passion for detective fiction has led me on a path to study the cross-cultural orientations that influence various media forms (graphic narratives, animations, and video games) and their thematic contents in relation to their socio-political contexts. Currently, there is no landmark text on detective manga and I intend to write one. Who knows what the future holds, but as Holmes once said, "The game is afoot!"