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.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Cornucopia of Sherlockiana

Judging by its title, The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany by Roger Johnson and Jean Upton sounds like a grab bag of writing. I'd rather think of it as a cornucopia, because to me the latter word suggests a whole lot of good things. The fact that I kept reading parts aloud to my wife is an indication of how good this book is. 

Miscellany is filled with both information and insight. The compact histories of the Baker Street Irregulars, the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, and the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, for example, are fascinating. I also learned the following:
  • "The Sherlock Holmes Museum in Meiringen, Switzerland, houses the most ambitious reconstruction (of 221B  Baker Street) ever achieved." I've been there, but didn't realize that it had that distinction.
  • Lestrade is pronounced "Le-strayed," according to Dame Jean Conan Doyle, who said that's how her father did it when he read the stories out loud to her.
  • "The first wholly original Sherlock Holmes novel written by an author other than ArthurConan Doyle was The Seven-Per-Cent Solution . . . "
The chapter called "That's What Puzzles Me, Mr. Holmes," in which the authors tackle various questions that have plagued Sherlockians for ages, is worth the price of the book. I also loved the finely tuned critical facility on display in the chapters about Holmes on the big and small screen. The authors neither fawn not cavil -- acknowledging, for example, the diminished quality of the later Jeremy Brett productions.

In the film chapter, they note that all film treatments of Holmes up until Basil Rathbone's 1939 Hound of the Baskervilles were updated to a contemporary setting. I knew that. But then they make an analogy which puts the practice into a light that I had never before considered: "Today's filmmakers give the same treatment to James Bond, whose true period is the Cold War of the 1950s and '60s."

No matter how small your Sherlockian library is, this book should be in it.

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