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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Good Old Invaluable Index!

“Good old index. You can’t beat it.”– Sherlock Holmes, “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire”

I agree with Holmes!

One of the delights of having a personal library, even a modest one like mine, is occasionally rediscovering a forgotten treasure. William D. Goodrich’s Good Old Index was just that for me.

For some forgotten reason I have two editions, the original from 1987 and The New Good Old Index from 1994. Both were published by Gasogene Press, then based in Dubuque. I keep the second one near my computer, where I know that I will refer to it often in the coming years.

The original “good old index” Sherlock Holmes’s giant book of clippings about all sorts of people, crimes, and phenomenon. His collection of M’s was a fine one, you will recall!  

Goodrich’s Index is a kind of Concordance to the Holmes Canon. Almost any topic you can think of shows up within its 602 pages, along with the story in which it appears and the page of its first reference in the most common edition the Canon, the Doubleday Complete Sherlock Holmes.

This is pure gold for a Sherlockian writing a scholarly article or a pastiche. For example, I have recently consulted the Index to find which Canonical stories mention South African gold shares, secret societies, Sussex, Australia, South Africa, fog, fishing, the devil, ciphers and codes, Canada, wills, public houses, and commonplace books. And they were all there!

Lately I’ve been looking to trim my library, but this book is a keeper in both editions. 

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