One of the joys of different editions of the Canon is the often-interesting introductions. Some are insightful, and some are informative in other ways.
For example, I didn't know that P.G. Wodehouse was a long-time fan and friend of Arthur Conan Doyle until I read his 1975 introduction to a Ballantine paperback edition of The Sign of Four.
Wodehouse, who died later in 1975 at the age of 93, was the creator of the clueless gentleman Bertie Wooster and his omnicompetant manservent, Jeeves. Although perhaps less known today than they once were, the comic duo of Wooster and Jeeves are almost as iconic -- and as English -- as Holmes and Watson.
In his introduction, the elderly Wodehouse writes:
"When I was starting out as a writer -- this would be about the time Caxton invented the printintg press -- Conan Doyle was my hero. Others might revere Hardy and Meredith. I was a Doyle man, and I still am. Usually we tend to discard the idols of our youth as we grow older, but I have not had this experience with A.C.D. I thought him swell then, and I think him swell
"We were great friends in those days, our friendship only interrupted when I went to live in America. He was an enthusiastic cricketer -- he could have played for any first-class country -- and he used to have cricket weeks at his place in the country, to which I was almost always invited. And after a day's cricket and a big dinner he and I would discuss literature."
Unsurprisingly, Wodehouse goes on to say that he could never get A.C.D. to talk about Sherlock Holmes. He then goes on to spin a three-age fantasy about Holmes actually being Moriarty before concluding:
"P.S. Just kidding, boys. As the fellow said, there's no police like Holmes."
Really, I have to love a guy like that.
What surprises have you found on your Sherlockian bookshelves?
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