Although I am not a collector, I am an accumulator. Wonderful pieces of Sherlockiana keep coming my way through the kindness of friends and family.
This happened again recently when an old friend gave me boxes of books that she can’t take with her on a move out of town. By “old friend,” I mean that Carolmarie and I graduated from grade school together in 1966. After a slight hiatus (46 years), we reconnected over Sherlock Holmes.
Some of the treasures she gifted me were reference books or pastiches that I didn’t have or were in better condition that the versions on my shelves. But many of the tomes were anthologies of Canonical tales.
Sherlockian anthologies are always interesting to me because of the bindings and paper, the choice of stories, the illustrations, and the added material such as introductions or annotations.
Some of the more interesting additions to my library (out of many more) via my departing friend are:
Great Cases of Sherlock Holmes, published in 1987 by The Franklin Library, Franklin Center, PA, illustrated by Michael Hooks. This is part of the Franklin Library of Mystery Masterpieces. Its 483 pages of prose includes nine stories from the Adventures, four from Memoirs, and six from Return. The guilt pages and the sepia illustrations are nice, but the real value-added is the Sherlockian Atlas at the end. This is made of five famous maps drawn by the legendary Dr. Julian Wolff.
Sherlock Holmes and Other Detective Stories, published in 1941 by the Illustrated Editions Co., New York, with wood engravings by John Musacchia. I love those engravings! The Holmes tales are “The Red-Headed League,” “A Case of Identity,” “A Scandal in Bohemia,” and The Sign of the Four in that rather curious order. There is only one other detective story, a little-known Arthur Conan Doyle tale called “That Little Square Box.” It’s a stretch to call it a detective story, since it doesn’t have a detective or a crime!
The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Green Flag, and The Adventures of Gerard are part of a matched set of Conan Doyle works published in the early years of the 20th century by P.F. Collier & Son, New York, one of ACD’s early U.S. publishers. The nicest part is the cover, which has an elaborate “CD” for the author’s name surrounded by garlands and an open book.
The Sign of the Four., published in F.M. Lupton Co. in an unknown year. The copyright page is missing. Or was this a pirated copy? And why the period after the title, which also appears after every chapter title? These are deep waters, Watson!
Books are precious, although not as precious as the friends who share them with you.