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Sherlock Holmes For Dummies Paperback – March 22, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Your comprehensive guide to this important literary figure and his author

It's elementary! Sherlock Holmes is a classic character who has fascinated readers for decades, and now this indispensable guide explores the enduring detective's stories like never before. Discover the rich characters, recurring themes, and social context of Arthur Conan Doyle's tales; the influence of Holmes on literature and pop culture; and why his stories still offer endless and fascinating new discoveries to readers.

  • See where it all began — meet Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who created the world's greatest detective, and learn about Victorian London, where the Holmes stories take place

  • Gain new insight into Doyle's tales — from the classic Hound of the Baskervilles to the lesser-known short stories, get a closer look at the forensics and detective work that made Sherlock Holmes famous

  • Get to know the characters — discover why Holmes and Watson are such beloved characters, and meet other characters such as cops, bad guys, victims, and damsels in distress

  • Experience Holmes today — from the ever-expanding network of worldwide fans to story locations that fans can visit, discover how the character continues to resonate with so many devoted followers

"Move over, Arthur Conan Doyle. Make room for Steve Doyle, whose handy Sherlock Holmes For Dummies will constitute addictive reading for Holmes fans and novices alike. Doyle has merrily put together a compendium of every sort of information regarding The Great Detective, from animal, vegetable, mineral, comical, tragical, and geographical. He even recommends ten Holmes books no aficionado should be without — but make that eleven. Sherlock Holmes For Dummies is essential reading." – Nicholas Meyer Author, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

Open the book and find:

  • A list of all Sherlock Holmes short stories and novels

  • A detailed picture of Britain during Holmes's time

  • In-depth analysis of Holmes and Watson as characters

  • Detailed coverage of the four novels in the Sherlockian canon

  • Holmes portrayals in television, movies, onstage, and in fan fiction

  • The most memorable quotes of Holmes

  • Active Sherlockian societies in the United States

Learn to

  • Identify key themes, settings, and characters

  • See the influence of Holmes stories and their impact on literature, mystery writing, and detective work

  • Discover Holmes through his contemporary fan following, and stage and screen adaptations

  • Appreciate the literary genius of the Sherlock Holmes canon

About the Author

Steven Doyle is co-founder of Wessex Press/Gasogene Books, a small press specializing in Sherlock Holmes books, including the landmark Sherlock Holmes Reference Library. David A. Crowder is the author or co-author of several For Dummies titles.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (March 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470484446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470484449
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Donald E. Curtis on March 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle only wrote 60 Holmes stories, but he created an enormous crime-fiction sub-genre with his memorable characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Steven Doyle explores every avenue of this Victorian world in this comprehensive compendium. All the basics are there: introductions to Holmes and Watson, mini-synopses of all the original stories, and lots of background material on the Victorian world. There is so much more... learn about Scotland Yard and the state of criminal investigation in the 1890's, read the history of Sherlock Holmes' impersonators on the stage and in films, and find out all about the hundreds of clubs around the world whose members share their common interest in Holmes. You'll also find out more about Sherlock Holmes' love-life (or the lack thereof) and even his religious views. You'll learn of great places to visit in your travels that have clear associations with Holmes' adventures. You'll be amazed at the thousands of writers who have tried to re-create Holmes in new exploits (only a few have even come close.) Mr. Doyle has a light and entertaining style in conveying his enthusiasm for Holmes to his readers, but it is infectious! Be careful, or you may become a Sherlockian!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Moody III on October 7, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is not just for dummies.

This is the most comprehensive single volume compendium of Sherlock Holmes information I have seen. I have been Sherlock Holmes devotee for over 50 years since my cousin gave me "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" when I was 13. I have and have read a number of books about Sherlock Holmes and this is the best and most compete and most readable single volumne of them all. I first came accross the book on the shelf of a book store but it was the Kindle edition that I bought. The book is intended to be a reference that one dips into at various points and not intended to be read in a linear fashion (although I read it that way). It can be difficult for an e-book to have the appropriate navigation for such a book but this Kindle version does and does it well.

The authors do an excellent job describing life in the Victorian and post Victorian era as well the characters and the role they play in the stories. For example his explanation of the role of the pageboys (Billy) and the urchins (The Baker Street Irregulars especially their initial leader Wiggins and the subsequent leader Simpson). I was surprised that the role of the messengers was overlooked, especially that of Cuthbertson in the Hound of the Baskervilles.

The authors also do a superb job describing the relationship to other detective stories of the period and the infulence that Holmes had on others expecially my favorites, Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey, Chesterson's Father Brown and Chirstie's Hercule Poirot. Their cataloging of the stage, screen, radio and television versions of the Holmes stories is the best summary that I have seen.

I recommend this book to both Sherlock Holmes neophytes and veterans.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Bergquist on April 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An impressive achievement! I'm surprised to find myself writing that about a "Dummies" book, but Steven Doyle has hit a home run with this volume. Although the publisher's main target audience most likely is novices who are interested in finding out more about The Great Detective after having seen the recent movie starring Robert Downey, Jr., even the most seasoned Sherlockian might be surprised to find they are learning a new tidbit or two from this offering. Especially impressive is that the author doesn't merely give a survey of the original Holmes stories, their many adaptations in other media and Holmes's impact on popular culture. That has been done often before. This volume goes beyond that by putting the Holmes stories in social and historical context, providing welcome richness for readers the next time they go back to the originals by Arthur Conan Doyle. Speaking of Arthur Conan Doyle, Steven Doyle (no relation) does a great job of outlining the Sherlockian "Game" -- the happy fantasy that Sherlock Holmes really lived and that Dr. Watson's writings are actual historical accounts that just need a bit of explaining to reconcile apparent contradictions -- while still giving full credit to Conan Doyle's genius. Heartily recommended!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ann Margaret Lewis on April 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
This terrific reference book is fun and informative at the same time. Teachers: don't fret, your student's can't get away without reading the stories, though they will learn a good deal more about the characters, the author, and their world than you could hope for. Those of you who only know Sherlock Holmes from the Robert Downey Jr. film will be amazed at the history and depth of Arthur Conan Doyle's creation. Steve Doyle gives readers everything one could ever want to know about this fascinating character and inspires you to read through all the stories just one more time to catch it all. Bravo!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Wright on April 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Steven's book does a great job of introducing readers to the world of Sherlockiana. It helps to explain many aspects of it and entertains at the same time. His love for the hobby and 'The Game', as it is called, is apparent and assists him in delivering Sherlock Holmes and his world to novices and experts alike. This book has a lot of information in it and even lifelong Sherlockians will find something that they did not know. In one of the last sections of the book he lists some titles that are recommended reading for those interested in this realm. Steven would have done well to add this book to that list as it will easily become one of those recommended titles, and will remain so for as long as there is interest in The Great Detective.
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