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Wednesday, March 11, 2015
The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes
Of all the literally thousands of Sherlock Holmes pastiches written, one of the most famous collections of them is The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes.
This classic contains six short stories by Adrian Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur's son, and six by him in collaboration with the great mystery writer John Dickson Carr. The stories were published in magazines from 1952 (the year I was born) to 1954. The book came out in 1954.
Although I'm not a collector, I'm fortunate to own three copies. The oldest is the one above, a fifth printing for which I paid one dollar, probably at a library sale. I also have a newer hardback edition and a paperback.
The edition shown above has a quote on the back that any author would envy. It's from Winston Churchill, commenting on Carr's The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: "I shall keep this book among my most treasured possessions." (My former boss, a multilingual intellectual, once said the same about The Complete Sherlock Holmes.)
For years I had the impression that the two authors had a falling out that led to Carr leaving the project. But Douglas G. Greene's wonderful John Dickson Carr: The Man Who Explained Miracles, relates that Carr had a physical breakdown (only partially related to alcohol) that kept him from honoring his commitment. The strong Doyle-Carr friendship was ruptured for a while, but later repaired.
Today there is no shortage of Holmes pastiches in many different styles. But there's only one book of them written by the Literary Agent's son and one of the great mystery writers of the Golden Age of detective fiction.
Posted by Doctor Dan at 12:00 AM