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Excellent Collection Ruined by Dreadful Presentation
on 5 January 2010
This 'revised and updated' 2009 edition is a textbook example of how excellent writing can be ruined by atrocious editing. Mis-typed words, bad grammar and, most damaging of all, hopeless punctuation mar almost every page of this edition. This is a terrible shame because the stories themselves are a clever and entertaining collection of Conan Doyle pastiches by acknowledged masters of the genre.
Perhaps the worst victim here is Eric Brown's 'The Vanishing of the Atkinsons', relating the untold story of 'the singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee' mentioned by Watson in the opening of 'A Scandal in Bohemia'. Admittedly the story-within-a-story structure presents both the writer and editor with a variety of tricky punctuation challenges, but rarely has that challenge been met so incompetently as that seen here, rendering a perfectly good tale maddeningly unreadable. Conan Doyle expertly illustrated how it should be done in 'The Gloria Scott' and 'The Musgrave Ritual', two stories which should have been more carefully studied by those charged with editing and proof-reading this volume before committing their efforts to print.
Authors of the calibre of Michael Moorcock, Stephen Baxter, H.R.F. Keating and David Langford really deserve better than to be treated like this. It is to be hoped that the publishers will employ some editorial and proofing staff who actually know what they are doing in order to correct all the mistakes for a reprint in the near future.