9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful books, irritating annotations.,
This review is from: The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: Novels v. 3 (Hardcover)
This review refers to all vols (1,2 and 3) of this collection.
These books are for the unconditional fan and the collectionist only. Who else would spend all that money on a really impractical set of books. Well, I did.
The tomes are indeed beautifully printed and bound, that's their best asset, but their sheer size and weight (you could easily commit murder with one of these books) means you'll need to sit at a strong sturdy desk in order to read the books without spraining a muscle. Inevitably I end up going back to my cheap paperbacks that I can carry with me or read snuggled up in bed.
The main reason I bought this collection was due to the vast amount of background information and "scholarly research" that is allegedly included in them. I was disappointed. Unless you're the kind of fan who enjoys playing "the game", that is to say, to pretend that Sherlock Holmes really lived, Conan Doyle was just a cover and Watson the real writer of the stories, you're bound to end up thoroughly irritated by many of the annotations and the preposterous trivia this edition throws your way. I thought at first the notion of pretending they were real life characters was cute, but it soon became tiresome. Specially after being forced to read lame theory after lame theory that any tom, dick and harry has ever come up with regarding the life and death of the sleuth, and which Leslie S. Klinger has felt obligated to share with his victims, I mean readers.
While some of the annotations based in real historical facts do enrich the stories, the task of weeding through them was too much for me. Half way through I was striken with the sudden realisation that my time on earth is finite and should probably not be wasted reading nonsense about a fictional character. Not even Conan Doyle (oops! or is it Watson?) took his own work this seriously. Is a very well known fact he was very dismissive of his own creation.
Something I found very baffling is how Leslie S. Klinger goes out of his way to point out every single discrepancy, mistake or ommission commited by the author (be that Conan or Watson, sigh!). He will go into unnecessarily lengthy explanations to prove utterly uninteresting points. By the time he is finished dissecting the stories you'll feel that the real murder victim is the story, lying in a heap at your feet, robbed of all its charm.
If you're new to the stories beware as the annotations and introductions contain spoilers. I had already read all of them and still found this annoying.