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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lively and fun read for all Holmes fans
This is a lightly informative and fun read for Holmes fans which explores the way in which the great detective uses science to solve his cases.

It starts by considering Conan Doyle's debt to Poe's detective stories and the way in which he moves from a detective detecting through instinct and intuition to something far more rational and scientific...
Published 21 months ago by Roman Clodia

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3.0 out of 5 stars Only for serious Holmes enthusiasts
I’m a fan of Sherlock Holmes in every form from the original stories to the modern day TV version Sherlock, so it was with some enthusiasm that I came to The Scientific Sherlock Holmes. What I hoped for was something along the lines of one of the better ‘the science of’ type books – but in reality this is something quite different.

As...
Published 9 days ago by Brian Clegg


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3.0 out of 5 stars Only for serious Holmes enthusiasts, 7 Sep 2014
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Brian Clegg "Brian Clegg" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics (Hardcover)
I’m a fan of Sherlock Holmes in every form from the original stories to the modern day TV version Sherlock, so it was with some enthusiasm that I came to The Scientific Sherlock Holmes. What I hoped for was something along the lines of one of the better ‘the science of’ type books – but in reality this is something quite different.

As the understated cover suggests, this feels like more of an academic book that a popular title. This comes through in a number of ways. James O’Brien is too interested in cataloguing every instance of something, rather than giving an interesting narrative. He also uses an infuriating approach, apparently common in academic writing about the Holmes stories, of using a four letter code to represent each story. So after a first reference to, say, The Hound of the Baskervilles, it is thereafter designated as HOUN. Similarly, A Study in Scarlet is STUD and so on. Unless you are a devotee, this makes the text rather impenetrable. Another academic tendency that does the author no favours is to keep referring to the way someone has theorised something about the particular topic, then giving a reference – not a great way of putting an argument across.

There is some interesting material in here as to how Doyle got his ideas, and examining in detail the different aspects of Holmes’ use of scientific and forensic methods – sometimes quite groundbreaking – and the degree of his scientific knowledge. In this, O’Brien is generally quite defensive of Holmes, giving him the benefit of the doubt when others like Isaac Asimov have suggested he was actually not up to scratch. But overall the package does not give the reader enough to get their teeth into and is presented in such a dry fashion that it is hard to consider it any more than a passing interest.

If you are deep Holmes enthusiast, the kind of person who buys and studies all the surrounding literature, this will be a must-have addition to your collection. Otherwise, probably not for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lively and fun read for all Holmes fans, 21 Dec 2012
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This is a lightly informative and fun read for Holmes fans which explores the way in which the great detective uses science to solve his cases.

It starts by considering Conan Doyle's debt to Poe's detective stories and the way in which he moves from a detective detecting through instinct and intuition to something far more rational and scientific.

O'Brien knows his Holmes and this must have been a hugely enjoyable project on which to work. Running through code-breaking, chemistry, forensic analysis of footprints and fingerprints as well as a host of other scientific methods, not to mention the `enigmatic clue', this is the kind of book which sends us eagerly back to the Holmes stories.

This would be a perfect gift for anyone who loves the stories as much as I do.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shallower and less accessible than one might have hoped, 7 July 2013
By 
Ye Olde Ed (Chelmsford, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics (Hardcover)
In "The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics" James O'Brien demonstrates how Arthur Conan Doyle's own scientific knowledge enabled him to create a detective who was both credible and memorable. He points out that most of the science is in the earlier stories, concluding that the far greater popularity of those tales is `surely no coincidence', and he shows us that Holmes was more advanced in the field of chemistry than some have suggested, even if his knowledge was not, perhaps, as profound as Watson thought. For all its good qualities, though - which do not include constant use of abbreviations for story titles - Professor O'Brien's book is both shallower and less accessible than "The Science of Sherlock Holmes" by E J Wagner.
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