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The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Novels (Slipcased Edition) (Vol. 3) Hardcover – November 17, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Eminent attorney and Sherlockian Klinger completes the daunting mission he began with 2004's two volumes examining the original 56 short stories to feature the great detective with this robust third book containing the four Holmes novels. All the gifts that netted Klinger an Edgar Award for best critical/biographical work are again in evidence: clear definitions of obscure terms, pithy discussions of some of the issues that have puzzled and delighted Holmes fans for generations (where exactly was Watson wounded?) and lucid essays (which legend inspired The Hound of the Baskervilles?). Klinger manages the difficult feat of appealing both to those new to the world of Sherlockian scholarship and to those who can quote the stories like gospel. Ample use of illustrations, some from the novels' original appearances, adds to the enjoyment. A must-have for any serious mystery fan, this edition will stand as the benchmark for generations to come.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“A beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable edition...will appeal to first time readers and seasoned veterans.”
- Daniel Stashower, Washington Post Book World
“A generous work, scholarly yet utterly accessible, a remarkable showcase of the detective's continuing allure.”
- David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times
“A must-have for any serious mystery fan, this edition will stand as the benchmark for generations to come.”
- Publishers Weekly
“A vast work of entertaining ingenuity and erudition.”
- Boston Globe
“Even the sleuth of Baker Street would be awed by the ingenious deductions and dazzling speculations of modern Sherlockian scholarship.”
- Michael Dirda
“Hailed as the definitive exegesis of Holmes and his times.”
- Mark Weingarten, The New York Times
“A feast for any fans of the greatest detective who ever stalked the earth.”
- Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
Top customer reviews
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And that is exactly what I find maddening about this series of Annotated Sherlock Holmes books. Basically, the author is saying that he chose to leave out a lot of admittedly "vitally important" real-world material in order to include a lot of ... well, basically, the higher-brow equivalent of nerdy fanboy theories. When I read an annotated book, I want real information on what went into the writing of the book. I'm not a "serious student of Conan Doyle," but neither am I a "Sherlockian." I'm a fan of the Holmes stories, but not of Holmes fandom.
Frankly, I don't care how "Sherlockians" try to tie up all the loose ends and inconsistencies to make everything in every story fit into one continuity. I would find it much more interesting hearing about Conan Doyle's real-life views on the discrepancies and inconsistencies within the stories. (Basically, he didn't care that much and thought readers wouldn't either.) Nor do I care about Sherlockians' cute and clever "reading between the lines" theories about, say, Mycroft Holmes really being a double agent who betrayed Sherlock Holmes to Moriarty. That kind of thing reminds me of nothing so much as an intense debate I read in which comic book fans tried to figure out, "Why does no one recognize Clark Kent as Superman?" (My favorite answer from one commenter: "Because it's a damned comic book!")
I WANT all that biographical and literary source material. I want to know the reality of what went into Doyle creating Sherlock Holmes. I want to know what other books and stories he was influenced by, story-by-story, like they give in other annotated books. Here was the chance to include all that in one easy-to-find place ... and the author didn't take it. On the other hand, the books are really attractive and well-designed, with a lot of illustrations, and the annotations that actually explain the historical context of the stories are very helpful. That's what is so frustrating to me.
The only things the publisher hasn't done here are to annotate and footnote the annotations, gild all the page edges, and put the three volumes into full-color, hand-tooled, leather bindings, with slip-case illustrations drawn by Spain Rodriguez. I suppose the folks at Norton felt they had to leave a few things undone becuse their friends at The Folio Society also have kids to feed.
In any event, because I am 64 years old this is the LAST Sherlock Holmes book by Conan Doyle I will ever buy. After I see the new movie with Jude Law and little what's-his-name, Jr., the money I laid out for these books is the LAST money I will ever spend on Sherlock Holmes.
Unless somebody makes another movie.
This large oversize book contains annotations that are placed alongside the text for easy reference plus many of the original illustations by Sidney Paget and period photos. Mr. Klinger's working assumption is that these stories and novels concerning Sherlock Holmes are historically true. This leads to some hysterical explanations of the many contradictory statements present throughtout these three volumes (Mr. Doyle evidently never went back to earlier writings to make them consistent).
If the reader should procure all three volumes together on Amazon, they are half of the $200 list price. These prices are a steal for nearly 3,000 pages of a beautiful edition of this quality (think of the Library of America publications) which will last a lifetime. All three books are more comprehensive than the two volume set by William Baring-Gould (1968) and less bulky than the nine volume edition from Oxford University Press. Mr. Klinger's annotations are clear, concise and well-informed by his considerable research of the world of Sherlock Holmes. This is an edition that the reader will return to again and again on a cold winter's night.
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