- Hardcover: 168 pages
- Publisher: Quadrillion Publishing, Ltd. (December 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1841003026
- ISBN-13: 978-1841003023
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 10.8 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,447,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Authentic World of Sherlock Holmes: An Evocative Tour of Conan Doyle's Victorian London Hardcover – December, 1999
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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in his vivid scene-setting for the Sherlock Holmes stories, has probably done more to shape our image of late-19th-century London, England, than any other writer. His portrait of a huge, fog-bound, romantic, and sinister city at the peak of its imperial greatness remains, to this day, convincing and atmospheric.
Holmes and Watson ranged far and wide across the metropolis, and Charles Viney retraces their footsteps in over 200 contemporary photographs of London, taken between 1879 and 1914. Each illustrates an event from one of the stories in 'The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and its location is pinpointed on a Victorian street map of the city.
'The Authentic World of Sherlock Holmes' is a tribute to the authenticity of Conan Doyle's descriptive writing, a record of a vanished world... and a reference and guidebook for all Holmes fans.
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As Viney says in his Introduction: "Conan Doyle was usually very specific in his London addresses and locations, only changing the name of a street or inserting a false house number if a dire criminal act had been perpetrated on the premises [in his fictional story]."
I like the book's set-up. Viney gives us an excerpt of a Holmes story where a location is described. And next to the excerpt is the photo illustrating the location.
For example, one page of the chapter on "The Red-Headed League" has two excerpts plus three photographs. First, "17 King Edward Street" is mentioned, and Viney gives us a photo of a corner of the street in 1907. Next is an excerpt where Holmes says, "Sarasate plays at the St. James's Hall this afternoon." And Viney adds a photo of St. James Hall, as well as an 1896 playbill, advertising a concert by the real violinist Pablo Sarasate.
The book is oversized, the better to show the detail in the old photographs. The Picture Credits at the end of the book show he visited many places securing all these photos. Places including the BBC Hulton Picture Library, Lloyds Bank Archives Department and St. Bartholomew's Hospital.
Last, but not least, a the end, Viney includes thirteen pages of reproductions of G.W. Bacon's 1888 Ordnance Map of London. See the same map that Conan Doyle may have used. Though I do wish they could have been printed in a little darker print, they are very detailed.
As a fan of the original Sherlock Holmes' stories, and many of the knock-offs, spoofs and homages to the original, I enjoyed "The Authentic World of Sherlock Holmes." 3.8 stars rounded up to 4.
Mr. Viney has chosen his photographs well and his brief comments and selection of quotes nicely complement the pictures.
I cannot imagine reading the stories again without this wonderful companion book near at hand.
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