Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review of Sherlock Holmes: Fact or Fiction?

 Book 27: Sherlock Holmes: Fact or Fiction? by T. S. Blakeney, isbn 9781883402107, 134 pages, Otto Penzler,  $7.95

Blakeney's biography is one I've often heard about but only just came across in a used bookstore, in the reissue edition from Otto Penzler books. Blakeney wrote this in 1932 and Penzler reissued it as part of his "Sherlock Holmes Library" in the 1990s.  I have to say that while it was a fun read, I can't say I was as impressed as people implied I should be. The chapter on Holmes' relationship with Scotland Yard is fun without a doubt. The bulk of the book is an attempt to put Holmes original published adventures in chronological order -- I don't know if Blakeney was the first to do this but he certainly wasn't the last. Not being quite the Holmes devotee others are, I can't say whether I agree or disagree with Blakeney's logic concerning the placement of stories that have no internal dating or are dated inconsistently, but I can say it seemed logical to me and was fun to read.

The back cover copy says the appendices discuss Dr. Watson's second marriage -- and one does, but barely long enough to refute an earlier researcher's theory without Blakeney advancing an alternate name. The appendix refuting the theory that Holmes and Moriarty were the same person fares a little better in terms of length and commentary.

A fun read, and one I'm sure the Holmes aficionados I know have already read more than once.

No comments: