Monday, September 04, 2006


I have been reading Sherlock Holmes for the past couple of weeks. I read a collection of non-canonical (ie not by Conan Doyle) stories first. There are only 56 short stories and 4 novels by Conan Doyle and more than twice that number by other authors. They are of variable quality, but the best are hard to distinguish from those by the master.

Then I started with "A Study in Scarlet" which I must have read years ago, but I could not remember it. This is where Holmes first meets Watson. He has solved the murders by half way through, but then we get a detailed back-story about the Mormons. It reminded me that Conan Doyle became heartily fed-up with Holmes, especially because he distracted his readers from his adventure stories which he considered superior. The story of the pioneers of the West in Scarlet gives a hint of his love of adventure stories.

Perhaps of more importance is the realization that there is still a huge Sherlock industry out there. Don't get started on a search of the web; you will never finish.

Local details that I did pick up are that Conan Doyle himself is buried at Minstead in the New Forrest, which I pass every time I drive to Southampton, and that Charles Gray, who played Mycroft in the TV series, was born in Bournemouth, Dorset in 1928. A mistake, of course; Bournemouth was in Hampshire until 1974 when it was moved into Dorset by that villain, Edward Heath.


Anonymous said...

Terry, have you read "The Italian Secretary"? It's by Caleb Carr, written as if he were Sir Arthur. He has the blessing of the estate in this endeavour.

Steve Hendry, w & w stage 2

Terry Hamblin said...

No Steve,
That one is new to me.