I was posting Shelfies over in a the r/bookshelf subreddit. The Mods seemed to be growing more persnickity, and spam selling posts were getting more common, so I quit the group. I’ve already done a couple posts here at Black Gate with my shelfies from over there. Here’s the third and final one from my Sherlock Holmes shelfies. Links to the prior posts at the end.
Holmes Shelfie #15
I am aware of four sets of annotated Sherlock Holmes. We’ll get to the first two in a bit.
The most recent is The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, from Leslie Klinger. Klinger has gone on to do other major annotations, including for Bran Stoker’s Dracula, and H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu.
It’s my favorite annotation, and not just because the slipcases are cool as heck. Love the Holmes silhouette. This is a masterfully annotated look at the entire Canon, in the order the stories were printed (you’ll see that’s relevant when I talk about William Baring-Gould’s annotation).
With over almost 1,000 illustrations on high quality paper, it’s a masterpiece. This was Klinger’s second annotation – the first set is to the right of the pic. And it’s different, (and I think better), because it deals with the stories, and the world, in reality.
His second set treats Holmes and Watson as if they were real people, and it’s a different way of annotating. Still neat, but I prefer the New Annotated. It’s a terrific resource, and a fun way to read the stories. One of the treasures of my collection.
Some years before,he had written The Sherlock Holmes Reference Library, which was also an annotation of the entire Canon. But this one was focused on Holmes and Watson being real people, and the annotations took more of a ‘fun’ approach than his follow-up set. I’m not sure how to explain it well, but I just prefer the more scholarly one.
The paperback format and individual volumes approach make it easy to read. Somewhere along the way, I lost my purple-covered ‘The Adventures’ which I hope comes back into print so I can replace it.
Klinger is a lawyer, a Holmes expert, and a nice guy. He has edited a couple anthologies, with some big name writers/popular folks in the Holmes community. I have two, I think, but I’m not really much of a fan. I prefer most of my other anthologies more.
But anyone who aspires to call themselves a Sherlockian should have The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes on their shelves. And it wouldn’t hurt to get the other set, either.
Holmes Sheflie #16
I have been fortunate enough to contribute original stories to six volumes of the ‘MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories’ series. Simply put – if you want to read traditional, Doyle-style Holmes stories, check out this series.
The brainchild of my Solar Pons buddy, David Marcum, there have been FORTY-TWO volumes so far, and the series isn’t over yet. The stories are all authentic Holmes pastiches, emulating Doyle’s writings. Not modern fan-fiction that clearly isn’t in Doyle’s style.
The writers donate all their royalties, which go to Undershaw, a school for special-needs kids, which is in one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former homes. Well over $100,000 has been raised so far. Great stories, for a great cause!
Some of my favorite writers have participated, including Denis O.Smith, Hugh Ashton, John Hall, Will Thomas, and more. I’ve also discovered some new Holmes writers I didn’t know about, like Mark Mower, Mike Hogan, and Tim Symonds.
There have been well over 1,000 new, authentic-style, Sherlock Holmes stories in this series. I highly recommend checking it out. Pictured are 23 of the volumes I own in the series. They all have covers similar to volume three’s, and I really like how they look.
Arthur Conan Doyle looked into several true crimes – often to try and thwart a miscarriage of justice. The case of George Edalji is probably the best-known. Not too long ago, a fictionalized account, ‘Arthur and George,’ was made into a TV miniseries. Doyle was played by Martin Clunes (Doc Martin).
For MX, I took that case and had Sherlock Holmes investigate it as it occurred. “The Adventure of the Parson’s Son” appeared in third volume of this series, and was part of the initial three-volume release.
If you’d like to read a Doyle-styled Holmes story by yours truly, click here – I’ve made it available for free.
Holmes Shelfie #17
The amount of work that went into Ronald Burt De Waal’s The World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, in those pre-internet days, is mind-boggling to me. It’s a HUGE compilation of materials related to Holmes and Watson. Including a long list of SH Societies. I don’t use this, as the web and the ease of asking an expert has replaced it. But this huge book is quite an accomplishment.
I already did a shelfie with Les Klinger’s two annotated Sherlock Holmes projects. My first annotated was William Baring Gould’ monstrous one-volume issue. That blue volume may well be the heaviest book I own. I found it so unwieldy, I snagged a two-volume edition, which is easier to use. Any self-proclaimed Sherlockian should read Baring Gould’s Annotated SH. It’s a classic.
Laying above it is my incomplete set of The Oxford Annotated Sherlock Holmes. That’s my fourth Annotated set, and differs greatly from the other three. It is Doyle-centric. The footnotes are focused on Doyle, not Holmes. It’s a really useful reference. Books in the series aren’t particularly easy to find, and the complete set is pricey. I hope to get the last few at some point.
Andrew Lycett’s biography of ACD is a good read. I’ve got several biographies about Doyle, and this is probably in the middle-upper quarter, as I recall.
My friend Steven Doyle wrote Sherlock Holmes for Dummies. For a while, there was a competing line, ‘Idiot’s Guides.’ I wrote a pretty hefty chunk of an Idiot’s Guide to SH, but never finished and submitted it.
Allen Eyles’ Sherlock Holmes: A Centenary Celebration is a really cool coffee-table mish-mash. It looks at the Canon, and some films. It has a TON of high quality, color, and black and white, illustrations and stills. Before you could find about anything on the web, I used a lot from this for my Holmes on Screen website. It’s a nice book to have.
Charles Viney’s The Authentic World of Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite ‘associated books.’ It’s full of Victorian Era photographs of places in, or similar to places in, the Canon. With some related text. It’s great for visualizing Holmes’ environs. A very cool book.
The Canonical Compendium is another massive index that the internet has pretty much replaced. Lots of info in it.
The next three very well-worn books helped me build my Holmes on Screen website.
The Peter Haining book was geared around Jeremy Brett’s Granada series,and had lots of cool pics. I wrote a three- part series on Brett’s Adventures, which is about as good a one as you’ll find free on the web. I’d like to do build on that one some day.
If you don’t know what I mean by ‘coffee table books,’ (I think they’re largely a thing of the past now), folks used to leave more general, over-sized books out on tables in family and living rooms. As opposed to novels actually being read. They were often illustrated and easy to leaf through. The next four books are examples of Holmes coffee-table books.
Philip Weller wrote THE book on The Hound of the Baskervilles, which I included on a prior shelfie. This one is an interesting read about Doyle and Holmes, and very lavishly illustrated in color. Has info on each story. Good one.
Martin Fido’s is another good one, though more general in tone. It’s more a mix of color, black and white, and two-tone; still lavishly illustrated.
Peter Haining (he put together several books in my collection, including The Television Sherlock Holmes, to the left) is an early example. Published in 1974, it’s black and white, and could be considered aimed at older Holmes fans, now. It’s got an introduction by Peter Cushing, and has some short pieces you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. It’s got a 1965 column from the Evening Mail, regarding an unidentified Sherlock Holmes actor. He was later identified as James Bragington. I wrote about his interesting turn as Holmes, here.
Finally, Bruce Wexler’s 2008 book is the most recent of this type which I own, and similar to the first two. I think all four of these are interesting to the Holmes fan.
Julian Symons was a crime-writer and poet. Great Detectives is an unusual book, in which he writes new stories about Holmes, Miss Marple, Nero Wolfe (the final story for him), Ellery Queen, Maigret, Hercule Poirot, and Philip Marlowe. I haven’t read all the stories (I got it for the Nero Wolfe one), but this thing has some very cool illustrations.
The Holmes story is set during his retirement, on the Sussex Downs.
Starring Sherlock Holmes is David Stuart Davies’ valuable resource for Holmes on screen. Michael Pointer was my secondary mentor for Holmes on screen. Two books on other shelves were core texts for me. This coffee table book is the tallest one I own. It has a TON of black and white stills.
I seem to recall that there are some errors in Sherlock Holmes in America. But this is one of my favorite ‘general books,’ with a ton of hard-to-find illustrations and information. It’s got Frederic Dorr Steele’s essay, Sherlock Holmes in Pictures. I think any Sherlock Holmes library would benefit from having this one.
I’ve already mentioned two versions of The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, with contemporary mystery tales. This is a much more recent one from Barnes and Noble (2015). It’s more far-ranging, but if you don’t have a collection of Victorian mystery stories, this is a good pick-up.
I’m a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. I’m not too big a fan of Doyle’s other writings. The White company and Sir Nigel were sloooow reads and I didn’t finish them.
SH Office Shelfie
I keep a few in my work office. That Complete Sherlock Holmes (Barnes and Noble) has a terrific preface by legendary Sherlockian, Christopher Morley.
It’s one of the best intros to a Holmes collection I have.
Bob 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 www.SolarPons.com (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. Which is now part of THE DEFINITIVE guide to Conan. He also organized 2023’s ‘Talking Tolkien.’
He has contributed stories to The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Parts III, IV, V, VI, XXI, and XXXIII.
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.