Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Uncreative Name for a Great Book

The Sherlock Holmes Book, published under the always-amazing DK imprint from Penguin Random House, is among the handsomest volumes in my Sherlock Holmes library. But it’s not just another pretty face. It has some depth, despite its rather uncreative name.

The book is lavishly and colorfully illustrated, of course, with drawings and photos both old and new. Its pages are also enhanced with pull-out quotes, sidebars, timelines, and charts. The charts are a real treat, illustrating Holmesian deductions, relationships between characters, and other complicated concepts. One of my favorites breaks down “Shoscombe Old Place” into the facade and its mirror image in reality.

The largest part of the book is a march through the entire Canon in order of publication. Two to six pages are devoted to each story, depending on how much David Stuart Davies and the seven other contributors have to say. Each begins with an “In Context” section including publication date and a list of all the characters in the story.

Each story is summarized, and the novels get a chapter-by-chapter outline as well. But the summaries are more than simple sketches of what happens in the story. They often contain insights that might be new even to veteran Sherlockians. The authors suggest, for example that “The Crooked Man” might be the morally corrupt Col. Barclay rather than the deformed Wood; that Holmes could be considered the real hound of the Baskervilles; and that the palimpsest Holmes studies in “The Golden Pince-Nez is a metaphor for Holmes’s crime-detection methods.

The mistakes are few, but annoying – referring to the wildly eccentric Sir Henry Merrivale as “aristocratic” (!), for example, and identifying a poster of the film A Study in Terror as a “gory Sherlock Holmes comic book horror.” Perhaps these can be corrected in a future edition to make the book even better.

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