?Sherlock Holmes Among the Pirates offers a careful examination of those variants, and the reasons why there are so many of them. The principal reason is that The Sign of the Four' was not protected by copyright in the United States and thus could be reprinted by anyone. Those reprints were produced quickly and cheaply, with little attention to fidelity or accuracy, and the corrupt texts have allowed Redmond to establish careful pedigrees, in some cases showing several generations of piracy. Redmond also provides a vivid description of one of the most cut-throat eras in the history of American publishing, and a careful explanation of how books were produced from hand-set type and stereotype plates (which were often used by a succession of publishers), as well as a detailed bibliography that will be of great assistance to collectors wondering who did what, and when, and to whom.?-Sherlock Holmes Newsletter
About the Author
DONALD A. REDMOND is a retired Technical and University Librarian with an interest in the work and publishing history of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He is the author of "Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Sources" and "A Checklist of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection," and the editor of Bigelow on Holmes. He has also published numerous articles in professional library journals and periodicals devoted to Holmes and Doyle.