Review: Granada's Greatest Detective: A Guide to the Classic Sherlock Holmes Television Series

I've made no secret of my opinion that Jeremy Brett is the best Sherlock Holmes bar none. Spare me your Wilmer, Rathbone and Cumberbatch - Brett is the Zeus of this pantheon. The Granada series is, for me, the zenith of canonical fidelity (and yes I know standards fell towards the end).

The frustrating thing has always been the lack of books on the series or, I should say, readily available books. I own a number that cover the series and/or the actors who starred in it but I have always lacked a Granada bible. A 'go to' book. I believe, in Granada's Greatest Detective, I may have found it.

The author, Keith Frankel, sent me a PDF to review and it is clearly shy of the finished article so I don't know to what extent my comments will apply; but on the strength of the PDF I can say that it would be difficult for the end product to be better. The only thing lacking in the PDF were pictures and a contents page and I have no idea if both will be ultimately remedied.

Very simply, this book gives you an episode-by-episode guide. You get the background to each episode's conception, a list of the characters, a one-line explanation of the plot (quite tricky to do); then each episode is discussed with quotes from all the key players - Brett, Burke, Hardwicke, Cox etc.

The coverage is broken down into categories with the result that the book feels like a series of files or essays - which works in this kind of book (I have explored a very similar approach myself - but this isn't about me). In the book's introduction these categories are listed and their purposes explained.

What we have here is, in effect, a Granada focused equivalent of England's Secret Weapon - the book by Dr Amanda Field that chronicles the Rathbone series of Holmes Films. Frankel's book is less academic it its presentation but in no way suffers for it.

If you love the Granada series and want an analysis that is clearly a labour of love with testimony from the key players you can do no better.

Put it like this. I have been given the PDF for free but I have just this second ordered the paperback anyway.

Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here

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