The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes – Shelfies (#2)

The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes – Shelfies (#2)

If you saw this post, you know that I found a kinda cool group over on Reddit. And it wasn’t LotR_on_Prime – yeesh. R/bookshelf is a subreddit where people post their shelfies. With over 2,000 books on 90-ish shelves/cubes, that appealed to me!

I started with my Jack Higgins shelf, and then my Clive Cussler one. I’ve done a couple fantasy shelves, but mostly I’ve been sharing pics of my over-500 Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle books. And I’ve been adding a comment, talking about some of those pictured. Its’ been neat.

Here’s a second set of Holmes shelfies.

Holmes Shelfie #8

Back to 221B Baker Street! This is the back layer of Shelfie #11(Sherlock Holmes #7) . I managed to put almost all my standard-sized paperbacks on this shelf.

The Carole Nelson Douglas books were fairly popular. They center on Irene Adler. They were okay, but I’ve never had any interest in re-reading them.

Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series is hit and miss. I liked some, like The Moor. Overall, the whole Russell/Holmes thing was a little creepy to me.

The Quinn Fawcett books are interesting. There were four (the two hardbacks are on another shelf). Quinn Fawcett is actually two writers, who did a spy series about Ian Fleming (the Bond author). Here, Mycroft is actually a mobile, active, crime-solving detective. Other than being brilliant,he’s not the Mycroft of Doyle.

Once I got over how ridiculous the concept was, I found them to be enjoyable Victorian spy thrillers. I liked them more than I thought I would.

Caleb Carr was very popular when The Alienist was on the NYT Best Seller list. He wrote a Holmes novel. I found it rather dull and never re-read it.

Couple movie-related paperbacks together. Roger Moore (James Bond) played Holmes in Sherlock Holmes in New York. The other three movies are better-known.

Back before pastiches were widely written and available, Barrie Roberts was writing some pretty readable ones. I have a couple more in ebook.

Fred Saberhagen was a big name in the sci-fi field. He wrote two books about Holmes and Dracula. They’re pretty decent.

Holmes Shelfie #9

After unintentionally causing trauma with Shelfie #20 yesterday (the story continues in Shelfie #21 and has a happy ending!), back to individual shelves.

Before the explosion of Amazon and also of digital publishing, it was tough to find Holmes pastiches. There weren’t very man in bookstores – often, none. When I saw a paperback, I grabbed it! I found books by folks like Frank Thomas and L.B. Greenwood and was thrilled.

Primarily in the nineties, Martin Breese was a London publisher who was putting out slender volumes with new Holmes stories. They had very distinctive black covers and spines, and most were initially from Val Andrews.
Andrews was a magician who wrote Holmes stories. Breese was also ‘into magic’ (don’t recall details), and Breese Books seemed to be primarily for Andrews’ books. John Hall was a second author and the one most publishedd after Breese. I have 25 Breese Books: 12 by Andrews, 7 from Hall.

I’m still not an enthusiastic Andrews reader. They’re fine, but as my collection grew to cover hundreds of books, his are not in the re-read pile. They’re not bad– just not great.

Having said that, I’ve pulled out ‘The Yule-Tide Mystery’ for a holiday read. And I think The Theater of Death is my favorite of his. Not saying you should pass on Andrews –he’s just not a favorite of mine.

I like John Hall’s books better. I have re-read those, and I think he’s one of the best pre-2000 Holmes authors. I think The Disgraced Inspector is a cut above most Holmes pastiches. That one really stands out. Hall is still writing short stories (I know he’s been in the MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories series, which I have also contributed to ), and he’s a very good Holmes author.

The Elementary Cases of Sherlock Holmes – One of my favorite Holmes books. The stories take place pre-Watson, and ‘young Stamford’ is Holmes’ helper. It is easily the best non-Watson Holmes book I’ve read. Charnock later wrote a book with Watson. But this first one – still love it!

Baker Street Studio acquired Breese Books (if I recall, Martin broached selling it to me once in an email. He was looking to get out of the business) and have made most (perhaps all) of the series available in paperback and electronic format. They’ve also had some additional books published in the line, I believe.

Many are part of kindle unlimited. It’s well worth a couple months subscription to read a lot of Holmes books. And I think they’re all worth checking out.

They are always short, quick, easy reads, and range from okay to excellent. I like the line, and I like having these copies.

Over on the far right is Marvin Kaye’s Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. I contributed to a couple early issues.

The spine of Yule-Tide Mysteries is brown for some reason, as is the cover shading – though, the graphic design matches the rest of the line.

That white Roger Jaynes coloring is TOTALLY jarring! The cover doesn’t match the line. And I didn’t like the Moriarty-centric plot, either, for that matter.

Holmes Shelfie #10

So, Shelfie #4 (Sherlock Holmes #1) was of my collection of Holmes from Titan Books. I just snapped a pic ‘as is.’ Basically, half the books were hidden, and a few were shelved elsewhere. So, here’s a complete, visible, pic.

Titan has two lines of Holmes pastiches, plus some various other entries. The very colorful, tallest stack is traditional stories in the Doyle style.They were originally reissues of hard-to-find volumes by folks like Philip Jose Farmer, Fred Saberhagen, Manly Wade Wellman, and David Stuart Davies (my editor at Sherlock Magazine). Then they added new novels by Davies, Stuart Douglas, and a few other authors.

I generally prefer more traditional tales, so this is a pretty neat line. Most of the volumes are slender, easy, quick reads. Since I have twenty-two books in this line, being able to get through one quickly is a good thing. I’m only missing a couple of these.

The other line, which is the not quite-as-tall stack on the left,are all new novels, and are pretty much horror-ish/steampunk/Gothic. Not the traditional type of stories Doyle wrote. I’m rather behind on this one, and I’ve read about half of this stack.

I’m not really into horror, steampunk, or much Gothic, in general. So, this one isn’t as up my alley as the prior line. But, I enjoy it. I plan on reading all of these at some point. As you can see by the numbers, James Lovegrove is kind of Titan’s star Holmes author. I like several of these.

Mark Latham’s Betrayal in Blood is an interesting book, taking a different look at the Dracula story, post Stoker’s victory. It’s a neat take. If you like The Isle of Doctor Moreau, Guy Adams took that one on. This is a cool line.

Titan has put out various Holmes books not in either of those two lines. The ones I have are in that smaller pile on the right. The three hardbacks in the middle are a series for you Cthulhu fans. I don’t want to give too much away, but Lovegrove’s premise is that all of the stories told by Dr. Watson were fabrications, and Holmes has actually battled the Cthulhu threat for his career. It was both hit and miss for me, but worth checking out.

Those three colorful paperbacks at the top are Lovegrove’s most recent books, and I just finished The Christmas Demon this week. Titan has a LOT of cool lines, including Hard Case Crime (that shelfie is coming), and lots of graphic novels. Cool company.

Holmes Shelfie #11

After doing some fantasy shelfies, it’s back to Sherlock Holmes. This is the front of a double-lined shelf in the main bookcase. And it’s got some of my favorites.

On the far left, A Sherlock Holmes Almanac is a tremendous daily Holmes calendar, from The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, in Canada. It’s a tremendous resource.

Rick Boyer’s A Sherlockian Quartet includes his The Giant Rat of Sumatra. In the days when it was hard to find Holmes pastiches, his ‘Rat’ was a standout. Still a great read.

The Game is Afoot and Resurrected Holmes are two anthologies from Marvin Kaye. They’re hit and miss.

I talked about Quinn Fawcett’s Mycroft Holmes adventures in an earlier paperback shelfie. Here are the two hardbacks I have.

221BBC: a must have!! Clive Merrison is the voice I hear in my head when I write Holmes short stories. He did a series of radio plays (mostly with Michael Williams as Watson) for BBC radio. Bert Coules was the creator of, and the man behind, the series.

This is the revised, massively expanded, account of the series. Quite simply, it’s the best radio Holmes we’ll ever have. Superb. I listen to episodes at least once a month.

The Private Life of Doctor Watson is a biography of the good doctor, from legendary Holmes writer Michael Hardwick. It certainly takes some liberties, but this has been a favorite of mine for over thirty years.

Sherlock Holmes: A Three Pipe Christmas, includes two Holmes, and one Solar Pons, Christmas stories, with some excellent essays on each. One of the Solar Pons essays happens to be mine!

Those two dark brown books are collections of Hugh Ashton’s Holmes stories. For my money, no one has written Holmes as well as Ashton (though Denis O. Smith is right up there with him). Many of Ashton’s stories are better than Doyle’s originals. They’re readily available via Amazon, and I have just about every one as an ebook. And I still bought the hardbacks. He’s THAT good.

He and Smith are a tier above everyone else (though August Derleth’s Solar Pons is also up there, but Pons is a successor to Holmes). You want to read some non-Doyle Holmes? Start with Ashton. Period.

John Dickson Carr’s biography of Arthur Conan Doyle has long been respected. It was endorsed (read, guided) by Doyle’s sons), but it’s still informative, and a good read.

Sherlock Holmes: My Life and Crimes is a rather lightweight autobiography from Michael Harrison. Worth a read.

A couple true crime books related to Doyle. I am an Oscar Slater case buff, and even have a short story published, with Holmes solving the Slater case.

For years, I ran a Holmes on Screen website. That’s my area of expertise, and I have quite a few books on the subject. These three are related to Jeremy Brett’s amazing Granada series. The two on the left are superb, and highly recommended.

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories has a lot of stuff you can find elsewhere. And is a mix of good and bad. But I’m a fan of the Big Book line,and this is a good volume to get for a LOT of content. Tomorrow, I’ll do a shelfie of the books behind these.

Holmes Shelfie #12

These books are the ‘back row’ of this shelf. I did the front row yesterday, in Shelfie #28 (SH #11)

The two books on the right are part of Michael Kurland’s Moriarty series, which I mentioned in a prior Shelfie. I like the series quite a bit, with the Professor front and center, but not exactly the totally evil guy he is in Doyle.

More Carole Nelson Douglas books. I find her Irene Adler books really slow reads, and I’m not a huge fan of the series.

I haven’t read Anthony Horowitz’ Holmes books yet, though I know a lot of people like them. I’ll get to this first one, some day.

My buddy David Marcum edited a book of scripts from the terrific Sherlock Holmes radio show from Imagination Theater. Out of the Pacific Northwest, The Imagination Theater does more than just Holmes, and it’s GREAT modern day radio. Well worth checking out.

Holmes and Watson –a biography by June Thomson. I’ve said in a prior shelfie, I’m a big Thomson fan. Her stuff does read a little slow – or heavy –but she does Doyle well, and I like her books. This one is my favorite.

The Lost Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a fun book. It takes some radio plays from the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce series, and turns them into short stories. Obviously, you can picture the movie duo in your mind as you read them. I like it. I’ve done the same thing with some of the Nero Wolfe radio shows starring Sidney Greenstreet. I like the concept.

Another Donald Thomas book – his others are on a prior shelf. I think this was his best-written book.

Denis O. Smith –Ranks alongside Hugh Ashton Holmes Shelfie #11) as the best Holmes writer I’ve read yet. His stories tend to run a little longer, sometimes, but they’re as good as it gets. Smith has been writing Holmes pastiches for well over thirty years, and he’s TERRIFIC. I can’t recommend him enough.

Holmes Shelfie #13

Another Holmes shelfie which bolsters my Sherlockian credentials a bit.

On the far right, Peter Weller’s book is THE definitive one on The Hound of the Baskervilles. A terrific resource.

Walter Klinefelter’s In Portrait and Profile is a terrific book on the history of Holmes illustrations. I wrote a long essay that emulated that book. It’s one of my favorites in the entire 500-ish book collection.

Two books from Michael Pointer that were important as I became an expert regarding Holmes on screen.

Beyond Baker Street was a major piece of Sherlockian scholarship, from the pre-digital days.

I like the first part of Christopher Morley’s classic book – not so much the remainder.

A couple books on Arthur Conan Doyle and true crime. That True Crime Files is a superb book. Doyle famously fought on behalf of the wrongfully convicted George Edalji. I have a published short story involving Holmes and that case. You can read it for free here.

Daniel Stashower is one of America’s leading experts on both Edgar Allen Poe, and Harry Houdini. He also wrote a first-class biography of Doyle.

On to the fiction! The Magic Bullet is one of the latter books in the Shadwell Rafferty tales which bring Holmes and Watson to Minnesota. I talked about those in one of the paperback shelfies.

Alan Vanneman, who has also written some Nero Wolfe pastiches (I am the biggest Nero Wolfe fan you will ever meet. Guaranteed), wrote a couple Holmes novels, as well.

Enter the Lion was one of my very first Holmes pastiches. It’s a Mycroft Holmes story.

I’m a huge fan of John Gardner’s Moriarty trilogy. To the extent I pitched a TV series to him (obviously, didn’t happen).

That massive Vintage Mystery & Detective Classics has a TON of stories. And I’m mentioned in the Dedication.

Plus, a couple other books of stories from the era.


Holmes Shelfie #14

And this is the bottom shelf of my main Sherlock Holmes bookcase (more to come, no worries). A couple of my favorites are here.

That Sherlock Holmes Annual near the far left is a tie-in book with Sheldon Reynolds’ second Holmes T V series. Starring Geoffrey Whitehead and filmed in Poland, I never even saw it until just a few years ago when it finally made it to Youtube. Reynolds made the under-appreciated Ronald Howard series years before. I blogged about that one here.

David Stuart Davies(who was my editor at Sherlock Magazine) has written a couple Holmes on screen books, which helped me build my old website.

I LOVE the two Rivals of Sherlock Holmes books. Mystery stories from Holmes’ time, in two-column newspaper format, and with original illustrations. These are two of my favorite books. I also have Hugh Greene’s two paperback Rivals books (prior Shelfie), but they’re not laid out nearly this neat. Terrific books!

Hell Bay is one of Will Thomas’ Barker and Lewellyn series, which I talked about with a prior Shelfie. Barker was referenced in one of the Case-Book stories (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?). I love this series, and Will is also a big Solar Pons fan. Win-win. Highly recommend checking it out.

A Sherlock Holmes Companion is a mish-mash of Holmes and Doyle stuff, put out by Barnes & Noble many years ago. Edited by venerated Sherlockian Peter Haining, it’s got some neat stuff -including a few things I’ve never seen elsewhere. Nice book.

Ten Years Beyond Baker Street is Clay Van Ash’s ‘Holmes meets Fu Manchu’ novel. Van Ash was an official Fu Manchu writer. A position now held by my friend William Patrick Maynard. If you like Manchu, you should definitely check out Bill’s books.

It reads a little slow, but Michael Harrison’s I, Sherlock Holmes, is a fascinating autobiography.

Next is one of my favorite reference books: Michael Hardwick’s The Real World of Sherlock Holmes. It’s tough going to just sit down and read it straight through, but this thing is jam-packed with info on Holmes and his world. Anybody who thinks they can write a Holmes pastiche would be well-served to read this.

It’s Harrison again with a less dense, easier read than the prior book. Another useful reference.

Naked is the Best Disguise is an older book of Sherlockiana. Frankly, I don’t like it.

William Baring Gould’s Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street is a fun, irreverent, biography of the great detective. Ground-breaking at the time, it’s a good read.
I am a HUGE fan of Steve Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range series, and I wrote an essay about it here. Two cowboys roam the old West. The younger reads Holmes stories from The Strand Magazine, to the older. Who then uses Holmes’ methods to solve crimes they run into. It started out as short stories (which I have as an ebook) and grew to novels. It’s a treat to read.

Barry Day and Barrie Roberts were early pastiche writers, before you could find such books everywhere. Here’s one of Roberts’.

Up top, Martin Booth’s biography of Arthur Conan Doyle is very good.

Daniel Stashower(who I praised on an earlier Shelfie) co-edited a book of ACD’s letters. Very useful reference.

There are a couple hundred Holmes/Doyle books in this bookcase. I’ve still got about a half-dozen Holmes shelfies to go. Then we’ll move on to the other mystery stuff. You’re gonna see some cool hardboiled-pulp stuff.



This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Bob_TieSmile150.jpgBob Byrne’s ‘A (Black) Gat in the Hand’ made its Black Gate debut in 2018 and has returned every summer since.

His ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ column ran every Monday morning at Black Gate from March, 2014 through March, 2017. And he irregularly posts on Rex Stout’s gargantuan detective in ‘Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone.’ He is a member of the Praed Street Irregulars, founded (the only website dedicated to the ‘Sherlock Holmes of Praed Street’) and blogs about Holmes and other mystery matters at Almost Holmes.

He organized Black Gate’s award-nominated ‘Discovering Robert E. Howard’ series, as well as the award-winning ‘Hither Came Conan’ series.

He has contributed stories to The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Parts III, IV, V, VI and XXI.

He has written introductions for Steeger Books, and appeared in several magazines, including Black Mask, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, The Strand Magazine, and Sherlock Magazine.

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