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The Mysterious World of Sherlock Holmes: The Illustrated Guide to the Famous Cases, Infamous Adversaries, and Ingenious Methods of the Great Detective Hardcover – April 22, 2008
Intrusion: A Novel
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Top Customer Reviews
The content is admirably diverse -- ranging from biographical material on Arthur Conan Doyle to the police investigation methods used in his time to the various Holmes film adaptations -- and the book is beautiful to look at, with glossy paper and lavish color photographs on every page. But the mistakes just ruin it. The other reviewers are not exaggerating with their complaints. In fact, they're understating the problem. The mistakes are so profuse that they jump out on every page, as if competing for the reader's attention. If they were limited to misspellings, I wouldn't be so annoyed, but an amazing lack of research is showing here.
How egregious are the errors? At one point the author refers to the 1962 film "Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace" as the first Holmes film in color. This is amusing (or infuriating, take your pick), not only because the 1959 version of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" was the first color Holmes film, but "Deadly Necklace" is in black and white! Later, the 2002 version of "Hound" is referred to as "probably" the latest film version of this story. Probably? The author couldn't have visited the Internet Movie Database to confirm this? Not even the pictures are free of mistakes; one of them features the large watermark of the website from which it was stolen. Couldn't the author have spent 15 more seconds on Google Images to find a better photo to steal?
How many times does the author refer to the 1800s as the 18th century?Read more ›
That having been said, the illustrations are lavish and entertaining, and if you have the fortitude and charity to overlook the atrocious writing and editing, you can find a diverting few hours here.
The book includes a biography of Conan Doyle, a history of Sherlock Holmes in print as well as on stage and screen, and an examination of the Holmes phenomenon today. Wexler also briefly touches on Sherlock Holmes' role in the evolution of crime fiction, the class structure of Victorian society, Victorian medicine and Holmes' use of forensic investigative techniques.
Over 150 illustrations are beautifully presented throughout the book. Many of Sidney Padget's iconic images are reproduced as full or half-page illustrations. There are many photographs of Victorian London and weapons that were common to the era. The section picturing some of Holmes' key possessions (such as his deerstalker hat, magnifying glass, pipe, Persian slipper, and violin) was especially interesting to me. When I first read through the Sherlock Holmes stories as a teenager, I had no idea what a Persian slipper looked like. I would have had no such trouble envisioning Holmes' quirky method of tobacco storage if this book had been available then.
While the illustrations shine, the text -- unfortunately -- does not. While I am by no means a Sherlock Holmes scholar, I picked up on several factual and typographical errors throughout the book. Mary Morstan, a prominent character in The Sign of Four, is referred to as "Mary Morstam", several quotations from Doyle's work are incorrect, and more than once, the word "to" is used where "too" is actually the correct form. Better editing would have served this volume well. Wexler also asserts that Doyle's non-Holmes works have "withered away from disregard.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although there seems to be a lot of information in The Mysterious World of Sherlock Holmes which has been educational and visually appealing, the reading has been superficial at... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Mr. Math Expert
As noted in other reviews, the text contains occasional errors, mostly of the proofreading sort, but the large format photographs and illustrations, plus the overview of all things... Read morePublished on August 18, 2011 by D. Walker
I've seen plenty of Holmes books over the years, but I found this one better than most for giving me a feel for time in which Holmes "lived. Read morePublished on June 9, 2010 by demerson19
Bruce Wexler and Courage books combine talents to produce this colorful, wide-ranging guide to the life and times of history's most famous fictional detective. Read morePublished on April 16, 2009 by Mike O'Connor