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Friday, March 28, 2014

Sherlock Holmes Mystery Book

One of the interesting things about maintaining a Sherlock Holmes library (insisting that it is not a collection saves me a lot of money) is that it affords me the opportunity to acquire such a wide range of books related to Sherlock Holmes.

Such a volume, recently added to my library, carries the unpromising name of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Book. Sounds rather generic, doesn't it? It's actually a fascinating, nicely illustrated hybrid of anthology of original Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle mixed in with and numerous short but informative essays.

The anthology part of the over-sized book consists of "The Musgrave Ritual," ""The Man with the Twisted Lip," "The Crooked Man," "Charles Augustus Milverton," "Shoscombe Old Place, and "The Lion's Man." (The books drops "The Adventure of" from the titles.) There are two things that I like about that seleciton: It avoids all the usual suspects, and it takes Holmes's career from his first case to post-retirement.

About the center of the book is an amazing full-color comic strip rendering of The Hound of the Baskervilles - amazing because it manages to convey a good bit of the story in just 10 pages. Illustrations are credited to Paul Compton and Glenn Rix. I didn't know which did the comic strip and which did the often-stunning pen and ink drawings with which the volume is crammed, but they are worth seeing.

Much of the essay material about Conan Doyle, Holmes, and Victorian England will be familiar to old hands, but author Clive Hopwood really knows his stuff. I spotted no mistakes, and the book is replete with appropriate quotations from the Canon. I also learned a few things. For example: "London in the late 19th century was the capital of the world: the largest city mankind had ever seen. More people lived in London than the total population of Australia, and it boasted more Irishmen than Dublin."

Published in 1981, I don't think this book would be particularly easy to find. I just lucked into it. I hope you get as lucky.

1 comment:

  1. As a fellow owner of a copy, agree with your assessment. And, it looks good.