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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

One of the joys of having a significant Sherlockian library is being able to choose in which particular edition one wants to re-read a story this time around.

Going to my shelves as I prepared to delve into the Canon again, I was surprised to find how many versions of the Sacred Writings I have in one-, two-, or three-volumes. Perhaps you have several of them as well:

  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes from Doubleday. This may be the best known and most widely circulated version. I have several copies of both the one-volume and the two-volume editions of various ages. I love it not only because it's the first Complete I ever owned, but because the Christopher Morely introduction is one of the best ever.

  • The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, edited by William S. Baring-Gould and published by C.N. Potter in two volumes. I also have the one-volume version. This book opened a whole world of Sherlockian scholarship for many of us. It's a must for any serious Holmes reader.

  • The New Annotated Sherlocked Holmes, edited by Leslie S. Klinger and published in three volumes by W.W. Norton & Co. This is a worthy successor to the Baring-Gould classic. Our younger son, Mike, gave this to me.

  • The Complete Illustrated Strand Sherlock Holmes. This is a facsimile edition in three volumes, handsomely boxed, with very fine print. Our daughter, Beth, gave this to me. An avid Holmes collector who couldn't find a copy tried for years to get mine away from me. That makes it really special.

  • The Complete Illustrated Novels and The Complete Illustrated Short Stories. This two-volume set is from Chancellor Press. The illustrations are from The Strand, but the pages are not facsimiles of the magazine.

  • Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Short Stories, Vols. I and II. This is a lovely boxed set of paperbacks from Bantam, with a delightful introduction by mystery wrtier Loren D. Estleman, focusing largely and insightfully on John H. Watson, M.D.

  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes two-volume boxed hardback edition from Tess Press has the same Estleman introduction.

  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collectors Library Edition. This is an oversized volume published by Barnes & Noble. It has illustrations from The Strand and an introduction by David Stuart Davis.

  • Tutto Sherlock Holmes. The Canon in Italian! It's a big one-volume yellow paperback from Newton & Compton Editori.

  • The Adventures, The Later Adventures, The Final Adventures is what the Heritage Club calls its three volumes of Sherlock Holmes, which together include all 60 stories. These are truly handsome books corrected and edited by Edgar W. Smith and with an introduction by Vincent Starrett.

What's your favorite Complete Sherlock Holmes?


  1. The Heritage Press set (though I would love to own copies of the Limited Edition Club set) has come to be my favorite non-illustrated, non-annotated set. For travelling I usually bring one of my Oxford annotated volumes (small but with end notes. When I'm sitting around with my cats on the couch, it's a toss-up between Klinger and Baring-Gould.
    If I were to write some sort of scholarly treatise and referenced page numbers, I would probably go with Heritage since it seems the most 'definitive' having been rigorously edited by EWS.

  2. Great choices! (Of course, there can't be a bad one.)

  3. Maybe a little bit late but...here I am :) from Italy.
    I'd love to own a copy of the Heritage Press set, but at the moment it is too expensive for me. I'll be able to afford it one day, I promise! :)
    Really you have the Canon i Italian, Mr Andriacco? I can't stand the sight of that book. The drawing on the cover page is horrible and the translation is far from accurate...

    1. A dire la verita', non ho mai letto quella traduzione italiana. Ma sono lieto di averlo!