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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 15 Jan 2009
By 
S. Dawson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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In the introduction Duncan states that his original intention was to provide an introduction to the stories and the world of Holmes whilst being of use to long standing fans, something which I think he accomplishes admirably. The information is laid out over several chapters making it easy to jump straight to the type of information you require, be it synopsis and timeline commentary on all the stories, Holmes's influence on detective fiction, his origins or commentary on the various screen persona's of Holmes.

The chapters on the characters origins and influence on detective fiction are refreshingly simple and very accessible, particularly to the novice as we are not bogged down with complicated supposition and babble which can be off putting, even to the experience Holmesian. There is nothing particularly new or revealing for the experienced hand but they serve as excellent bite sized passageways into further study or analysis.

Duncan provides a concise commentary to each of the stories, highlighting some of the comments presented about the date of each case, providing key elements that give us characterisations of either Holmes or Watson as well as important details about each of the cases. Duncan is very adapt at pointing out the flaws in the various chronological arguments and whilst not suggesting alternatives of his own he is able to give the reader chance to form their own conclusions.

Overall, Duncan's treatment of each of the individual stories is detailed and interesting, the commentary providing some good areas of speculation and starting points for any student of the Canon to pick up on.

The second part of the book focuses on the various screen interpretations of Holmes, both the good and the bad. This is arguable the most interesting part of the book as there are few out there which discuss the various interpretation. Each Holmes is dealt with in the order they appeared, their performance as Holmes is discussed (as well as their Watson's) and there are comments on the various films or TV episodes they appeared in.

Alistair Duncan manages to escape the trap of lecturing or talking down to the reader that many books of this nature fall into. Using clear, simple and precise language Duncan manages to present existing thoughts seamlessly alongside his own commentary. The second part of the book is informative and well put together. I would have liked to read more about stage or radio Holmes's and non English performances but this should not prevent you from adding this book to your library.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eliminate the Impossible: An Examination of the World of Sherlock Holmes on Page and Screen, 12 July 2010
By 
Mr. M. Sanders "TX41" (Powys, UK) - See all my reviews
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A useful guide to the Sherlock Holmes Detective charachter through the performances by a variety of different actors, also includes a guide to the Conan Doyle stories written about Holmes' work.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Distrct Messenger (Sherlock Holmes Society of London) Review February 2008, 16 April 2008
By 
S. Emecz (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Alistair Duncan knows his Holmes, and he brings a fresh eye to this 240 page survey of the Canon and its film and TV off-shoots. Eliminate the Impossible is well written and entertaining. The story summaries are concise and accurate, and the notes are frequently incisive. Most interesting, to my mind, and most controversial, are the comments on film and television portrayals.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And What Remains..., 1 April 2011
Eliminate the Impossible: An Examination of the World of Sherlock Holmes on Page and Screen

I confess to being hooked on this book from the beginning: a short but pithy chapter about Holmes'infuence on crime detection, another on heroes and villains drawing our attention to the wonderful anomaly of Lestrade taking all the credit while Wason was blowing the gaff elsewhere. These are followed by a useful timeline, and short but illuminating summaries of all the tales in the canon, the author's conclusions about each of them and, finally, an interesting account of the principal actors who have played the immortal duo. I find myself in disagreement with Duncan (iv) that at least part of the canon should be read before tackling this book. It is so well done it can be enjoyed by fans and tyros alike, and goes a long way to pointing the latter in Doyle's direction. I would also take issue with him about that Stradivarius (p.79). However penurious Sherlock may have been, a Strad is a Strad and, with his knowledge of various violin makers, Holmes should have known better than to "get one over on a retailer." Conveying the information to Watson suggests that he did! All in all, the book reminds me of a slightly fleshed out and more accurate version of the hitherto useful 'Sherlock Holmes' by Mark Campbell, published by Pocket Editions in 2007.
One final point, which I'm sure the author has already picked up for himself, Lucy Ferrier was never the wife of Jefferson Hope. That's what caused all the trouble.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for the serious Sherlockian, 4 Nov 2010
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The strength of this book in my opinion lies in the fact that the author lists the opinions of other writers on the canon & summarises the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments. A very comprehensive summary of the debate on all stories of the canon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, 4 Nov 2013
By 
Lady Claire (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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A very well researched, meticulous book about all-things Sherlock Holmes whether it be TV, film or the canon.

As someone who has read all the stories, seen some TV stuff but is a relatively new fan to the world of the great detective, I found the entire book a most enjoyable read.

Speaking personally, I particularly got the most out of the part relating to all the different portrayals of Holmes & Watson there have been on screen (albeit this book was written prior to the Guy Ritchie films and the BBC's wonderful Sherlock series). It's definitely pointed me in the right direction as to which other versions to watch and which ones to avoid!

As the book states, it's probably not for the passing fan (but then you probably wouldn't be buying the book in the first place), but for someone who has a modicum of knowledge about the canon etc. But even though I've read all the stories I still found new things I'd not noticed before. Very interesting stuff.

All in all a thoroughly good read and I would recommend it to any Sherlock Holmes fan.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Eliminate the Impossible, 26 Mar 2013
Eliminate the Impossible is a very enjoyable book, and a well-researched one at that. It offers a wealth of information that would interest both novices and well-versed Sherlockians alike.
As the author mentions in the book, it is better if the original books are read first, but only a passing knowledge is really needed (you could probably even get by if you've watched the Jeremy Brett television adaptations).
I feel it is the perfect companion to Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Eliminate The Impossible, 16 July 2012
Eliminate The Impossible is an essential guide to the Holmes canon and I feel richer for having this simple monograph on my shelf to draw from whenever I need anything.

It gives a summary of several different theories on the timeline of the Canon, as well as notes on each of the 60 stories, adaptations and breakdowns of many of the canon characters that everybody knows.

All in all, this is a magnificent piece of work and is nothing short of essential. A must for any Holmesian bookshelf.
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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing guide, 13 April 2011
After reading Eliminate the Impossible by Alistair Duncan I move that every university immediately creates a Sherlock Holmes course and curriculum and I nominate Mr. Duncan to be the head professor. He can then train all us willing to spread the Sherlock canon by using this very well written book for the class text. Major characters are defined, a timeline of works is listed and then every story is reviewed and outlined in several well written pages.

If you have never read the stories, then use this book for reference as you read. If like me you are attempting to re-read the entire canon in chronological order, then this is indispensible. Then Duncan reviews all the stage and film Sherlocks up until 2008.

This is a great reference tool and immensely manageable both in scope and size.
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