Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Eliminate the Impossible

You might consider the following a post-script to my post on the quintessential quote “when you have eliminated the impossible . . .”

Alistair Duncan’s book Eliminate the Impossible (MX Publishing, 2008) is an engaging book to read through and a valuable one to keep on your reference shelves. I don’t know of another introduction to Holmes quite like it.

The greatest number of pages is devoted to looking at each of the 60 Holmes stories. The author begins with a synopsis that is more statement of the case than summary, then goes on to treat one or more interesting issues raised by the particular story. This treatment is much less comprehensive than in the Annotated or New Annotated, which I find an advantage. Uniquely, he considers some of the problems in a double-barreled way – first as if Watson wrote the story, then as if Doyle wrote it.

Often the issues he explores are chronological, which apparently appeals to a lot of Holmes readers though not to me. Sufficient for me was a helpful chart listing each story and the dates assigned to it by three different scholarly sources.

Another nice feature in the book is a series of character sketches for major actors in the Canon. They are nicely done, and I would have liked a few more of them. At the end of the book, the author assesses “Best and Worst Screen Portrayals,” giving his opinion of 14 on-camera interpretations of Holmes and Watson.

Alistair Duncan also wrote a wonderful, richly illustrated guide to the London of the nineteenth century called Close to Holmes (MX Publishing, 2009). This is an excellent reference resource for anyone who reading or writing about Sherlock Holmes.

Both books are available from the publisher.

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