|The latest edition to my little library
Edited by Edgar W. Smith and subtitled An Irregular Reader About the Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, this cornerstone book is a stellar collection of essays from the early days of Sherlockian scholarship. How early is indicated by the annotated bibliography, which runs a mere six pages -- including all the books of the Canon. That's just about all there was in those days.
The list of contributors to the volume is dazzling roll call of Sherlockian giants: Morley, Davis, Stout, Wolff, Woolcott, Sayers, Boucher, Starrett, Haycraft, Pratt, Bell . . . Even some of the individual articles and poems are justly famous, such as “Watson Was a Woman,” “That Was No Lady,” “221B,” and “Dr. Watson's Christian Name.”
The front carries a notice: “The characters in this book are real persons. Any resemblance to fictional characters, living or dead, is purely accidental.” If this isn't the first Sherlockian book to make that claim, it is one of the first and far from the last.
The volume already sitting on my library shelves has a dust jacket, and my new acquisition doesn’t. But the new one is slightly larger in its physical dimensions and has something the other lacks – end papers featuring maps of the Sherlockian world by Dr. Julian Woolf. That probably means it was the original edition, and the other a cheaper reprint.
As another Wolfe, Nero, would say: “Most satisfactory.”