Can someone tell me why? (well apart from the obvious)

So the BBC has decided to publish a book of selected Sherlock Holmes stories. The selectors in this instance being Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.
Available November 12th

As much as I admire them, this comes across as nothing more than a cynical stunt (a BBC stunt). The RRP on Amazon is listed as £13.60. Now this may drop but, nonetheless, why on earth would you pay this kind of money for a selected number of stories when you can get the complete Canon for similar or lower amounts?

Plus, I still consider it rather dishonest to put these books out there with the BBC Sherlock and John on the front when the stories within will be the original Victorian efforts. I have enough faith in the younger fans of Sherlock to think that very few will be fooled into thinking that the stories within are contemporary but there will probably be a few so fooled.

In essence, the BBC are releasing a subset of the Canon with original introductions from Gatiss and Moffat. Wonderful as their writing can be I don't think it is really enough to make this the book you choose over a complete edition of the Canon. Calling it The Essential is also not on. Essential according to whom? I guess the answer to that question is the same as who came up with the title? In any event it comes across purely as a way to encourage some people to part with their cash. Oh you must get it, it's essential.

Yes you can make the argument that a Sherlock fan could buy this and then be encouraged to buy the full Canon but we've already had similar books released and plenty of time to have done that. It is more likely that, with the special imminent, followed by a long wait for series four, the BBC felt the need to stoke the fire with some merchandise.

As I said, a cynical stunt!

Written by Alistair Duncan
Buy my books here


  1. Agreed. Especially grasping as most of the canon stories (being in the public domain) can be read for free online.

  2. Personally I think if they really want to route the BBCS fandom into Canon, they should market the Blu-Ray re-release of the Granada series from the Sherlockology website. Besides holding the fans' hands into what are, in this book, essentially the Canon Cliffs Notes. It was Jeremy's performance who hooked the young Gatiss and Moffat to begin with, really; if they want to point to the inspiration for loving Canon they should give credit where credit is due. It was a supremely scored and dynamically written series with sublime cinematography.

    1. I didn't know that. Time and again they've cited the Basil Rathbone films and "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes" as inspirations. I've not seen any quotes re Granada (although I don't doubt there are some).

    2. Right. And they've both told that their original inspiration and love of SH came directly from reading the canon at a very young age.

  3. Stunts aren't cynical; observers are.

    But in this case, the observer had good reason to be so.