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HALL OF FAMEon 9 January 2006
According to the actor Peter Cushing's introduction to this scrapbook on Sherlock Holmes, 'you cannot have too much of a good thing'. Even by the early 1970s, when this book was first produced (as a look back over the previous 50 years of coverage of Sherlock Holmes, since the publication of the last of the official stories), there were literally hundreds of books available, and editions, articles, films, plays, radio and television shows, and more too numerous to count.
Haining does not intend to be exhaustive by any means, but rather, by means of this scrapbook, to introduce fans of Holmes, newcomers and aficionados alike, to the wide range of possibilities within the Holmesian arena. That Peter Cushing penned the introduction is a good example -- Cushing portrayed Holmes in character, as well as being an expert in Holmesian lore himself.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the best known detectives in the world -- so famous in fact, that 221B Baker Street in London continues to get mail adddressed to this fictional character almost a century after he would have died had he been a real person. There are groups of people -- Sherlockians and Holmesians, the distinction between which is rather subtle -- who delight in retelling the tales. The official canon is 60 stories -- 56 short stories, and 4 novels, published at various times during Conan Doyle's life. However, Conan Doyle wrote far more than he ever published as part of the official canon, and some relates directly to Holmes; other pieces remain controversial with regard to their applicability.
Holmes has appeared virtually everywhere. Haining reprints copies of cigarette cards with Holmesian characters, playbills, advertisements, 'Strand' drawings, diagrams of rooms, routes, and maps. He includes photographs of significant figures, including major actors to play Holmes (Rathbone, Norwood, Gillette, etc.) and Watson (Bruce, etc.), as well as Conan Doyle himself. One of the recurring features in the book is a series of letters, some to editors in newspapers, some to Holmes himself - this includes a mock obituary that might have appeared in The Times of London, had Holmes been a 'real' person.
There are plaques in London, just as real historical figures have, commemorating not only the location of where 221B Baker Street was (or would have been), but also plaques erected commemorating Watson's first meeting with Holmes, and even Watson's meeting with Stamford, who introduced the pair to each other. There are cartoons, film stills, play photos, a recreation of Holmes' Baker Street flat, and more. The wide range of Holmesian lore beyond Conan Doyle far exceeded Conan Doyle's own output by millions, in currency and in printed pages.
This relatively brief collection is a great addition to any Sherlockian or Holmesian library.
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