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The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (The Sherlock Holmes Reference Library) Paperback – December 27, 1999
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Penzler Pick, February 2000: What is there about the greatest series of short stories in the history of the world that hasn't already been said? This is the second (of five) story collections by Doyle about the greatest detective in literature--and a splendid volume it is, containing such superb puzzles as "The Greek Interpreter," in which readers are introduced to Mycroft Holmes; "The Musgrave Ritual"; "Silver Blaze"; and the earth-shattering "The Final Adventure," recounting the struggle between Holmes and the evil Professor Moriarty in which the two titans were apparently killed as they went over the edge of the Reichenbach Falls.
But every mystery reader already knows this. I'm pointing out this marvelous book because it has been extensively annotated by a fine Sherlockian scholar, Les Klinger, who has brought to all serious students of the Holmesian canon a level of erudition seldom encountered. In addition to the expected illustrations from The Strand magazine and meticulous scrutiny of chronological evidence of various events, there are references to primary sources and a staggering helping of information from the thousands of works about Sherlock Holmes by others.
More than 30 years ago, another great Sherlockian scholar, William S. Baring-Gould, produced a ground-breaking volume that enjoyed more than 35 printings in its original two-volume format and probably sold just as many copies in a slightly less elaborate one-volume size. The Annotated Sherlock Holmes became the single most essential volume in the library of any true Sherlockian, of which the world has far more than you think.
Les Klinger has acknowledged Baring-Gould in every way imaginable, and it was an act of extraordinary courage to attempt to supercede that monumental work. But that is exactly what he appears to be doing. The first volume, his annotated edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, was introduced by the same publisher last year. There are seven yet to come.
If you want to master just about everything there is to know about The Great Detective and The Good Doctor, to understand what Holmes meant when he referred to "a comet vintage" of wine, and to know what discrepancies there are between the English and American editions of the works, plus a thousand other things relating to Holmes, Watson, and the England of the Victorian era, you must have this volume, as well as all the others in the series as they become available over the next few years. --Otto Penzler
From Library Journal
This BBC radio production presents all 12 short stories in Conan Doyle's 1893 Memoirs collection, which includes such gold as "Silver Blaze," "The Musgrave Ritual," and "The Final Problem." This is radio drama in the grand tradition, and the programs feature fine acting, moody sound effects, and original violin music. The stories are generally convincing, with Clive Merrison and Michael Williams taking on the roles of the consulting detective and his doctor friend Boswell. Williams is quite fine as the dutiful and often perplexed Watson, but Merrison's Holmes at times comes across as confused and even pompous. Generally, however, he does the role justice. Pop in a tape, close your eyes, and be transported back to Victorian London. The lights on Baker Street are always on. Recommended.?Michael Rogers, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
In Memoirs, we are introduced to many important characters in the Sherlock Holmes canon, including Sherlock's brother Mycroft. This collection also marks our first introduction of Sherlock's nemesis, Moriarty. The last story in this collection is The Last Problem, where we first see Sherlock and Moriarty go head to head (the results of this meeting leading to what is sometimes referred to as "The Great Hiatus" for Sherlock).
This collection was entertaining and, in my opinions, still stands up pretty well more than 100 years later. The mysteries are engaging and seemingly unsolvable, until Sherlock cracks the case, with explanations making it seem so simple. For those unfamiliar with Sherlock, you can easily pick up this collection and jump right in, although you won't have as much background on Watson and Holmes relationship, or Holmes' quirks. Overall, an entertaining and fun read.
Be aware, though, that this is far from the complete Holmes stories. My recommendation for someone wanting a complete collection is to pick up this Kindle e-book: Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection. It's selling for a modest 99 cents at the present time here on Amazon, and it has essentially everything (see my review for the details: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1XW9M0NM1AQSK/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00DCD53C2).
For reference, the following is a complete listing of the Holmes works, from the website sherlockian dot net.
Sherlock Holmes appeared in a total of 60 stories, written by Arthur Conan Doyle and published between 1887 and 1927. The four novels and five volumes of short stories now often appear as The Complete Sherlock Holmes.
1) A Study in Scarlet (novel, 1887)
2) The Sign of the Four (novel, 1890)
3) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
...a) A Scandal in Bohemia, 1891
...b) The Red-headed League, 1891
...c) A Case of Identity, 1891
...d) The Boscombe Valley Mystery, 1891
...e) The Five Orange Pips, 1891
...f) The Man with the Twisted Lip, 1891
...g) The Blue Carbuncle, 1892
...h) The Speckled Band, 1892
...i) The Engineer's Thumb, 1892
...j) The Noble Bachelor, 1892
...k) The Beryl Coronet, 1892
...l) The Copper Beeches, 1892
4) The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
...a) Silver Blaze, 1892
...b) The Yellow Face, 1893
...c) The Stock-broker's Clerk, 1893
...d) The 'Gloria Scott', 1893
...e) The Musgrave Ritual, 1893
...f) The Reigate Squires, 1893
...g) The Crooked Man, 1893
...h) The Resident Patient, 1893
...i) The Greek Interpreter, 1893
...j) The Naval Treaty, 1893
...k) The Final Problem, 1893
5) The Hound of the Baskervilles (novel, 1901-02)
6) The Return of Sherlock Holmes
...a) The Empty House, 1903
...b) The Norwood Builder, 1903
...c) The Dancing Men, 1903
...d) The Solitary Cyclist, 1903
...e) The Priory School, 1904
...f) Black Peter, 1904
...g) Charles Augustus Milverton, 1904
...h) The Six Napoleons, 1904
...i) The Three Students, 1904
...j) The Golden Pince-Nez, 1904
...k) The Missing Three-Quarter, 1904
...l) The Abbey Grange, 1904
...m) The Second Stain, 1904
7) The Valley of Fear (novel, 1914-15)
8) His Last Bow
...a) Wisteria Lodge, 1908
...b) The Cardboard Box, 1893
...c) The Red Circle, 1911
...d) The Bruce-Partington Plans, 1908
...e) The Dying Detective, 1913
...f)) Lady Frances Carfax, 1911
...g) The Devil's Foot, 1910
...h) His Last Bow, 1917
9) The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
...a) The Illustrious Client, 1924
...b) The Blanched Soldier, 1926
...c) The Mazarin Stone, 1921
...d) The Three Gables, 1926
...e) The Sussex Vampire, 1924
...f) The Three Garridebs, 1924
...g) Thor Bridge, 1922
...h) The Creeping Man, 1923
...i) The Lion's Mane, 1926
...j) The Veiled Lodger, 1927
...k) Shoscombe Old Place, 1927
...l) The Retired Colourman, 1926
In addition, the complete "Canon" generally includes two prefaces by Arthur Conan Doyle (to His Last Bow, and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes)
From all the other books and flicks I've encountered, I never realized how very human the great Sherlock Holmes was as portrayed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The man was self-taught in his skills of observation and deduction. Although his mind was quite orderly and systematic, his personal apartment was not. Watson was not only a friend, traveling companion, admirer, biographer and sounding-board in Holmes' cases, but he was also the detective's personal physician. Holmes was not as much of an opium addict as some of our modern films would have us believe. However, he was prone to depression, when his mind was not occupied with a case. He was by no means a ladies' man, and in fact seems to have lacked some social skills. He was so dedicated to truth and honesty that he had no use for false humility. He even expressed the logic of believing in God. I could go on and on, as this book was filled with unexpected gems of insight into Holmes' mind and soul.
I loved that each chapter of the book was a single case. The length of these short stories was just right for me to read on my portable device, using the Kindle app, during lunch breaks, at the breakfast table, etc. Each was a stand-alone story with its own unique characteristics, highlighting a particular aspect of Holmes that Watson wished for his readers to appreciate. I was able to anticipate some, but not all of the plot lines, which is always a sign of a good mystery writer.
I didn't care for the excerpts from other books at the end of this eBook. I wish e-publishers did not feel they need to include these teasers in their books.
The book was well-written, clean and engrossing. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading detective stories, but does not have the time to invest in a full-length novel about a single case.