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Friday, October 28, 2011

Dispelling a Biblio-Myth

In my mystery novel No Police Like Holmes, a bookseller makes reference to "a copy of The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, edited by Ellery Queen and very rare because it was suppressed by the Conan Doyle Estate."

Who could blame him for saying that? I could paper the walls of my writing room with pages from books that have said something similar. Here's an example from an excellent book by Francis M. Nevins, Jr., called Royal Bloodline: Ellery Queen, Author and Detective:
"This anthology was suppressed through the machinations of Adrian Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur's son and executor, and the few copies still available are among the most highly sought of collectors' items."
That's the conventional wisdom, but it's untrue or at least misleading, according to a highly reliable source on matters Sherlockian.

Paul D. Herbert, BSI, Sherlockian collector extraordinaire, wrote me the following corrective after reading No Police Like Holmes: "I have several copies of The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes, one of which is a third reprint (October, 1944) of a book that was originally published in March, 1944. I believe there are several later reprints as well, so the idea of the book being suppressed is a myth."

Whether or not there was some sort of suppression of this book, as so many sources insist, it clearly is not extremely rare. Hmmm. I wonder whether I could get Paul to part with one of those several copies that he owns?


  1. I know it's nice to own the actual physical copy, but there's a free online version of Queen's The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes on archive.org: http://www.archive.org/stream/scriblio_test_044/scriblio_test_044_djvu.txt

  2. Thanks, Matt. That's great to know. I was interested in re-reading EQ's "The Adventure of James Philimore": -- and there it was!