Review: From Holmes to Sherlock

Yesterday I completed reading Mattias Bostrom's magnum opus From Holmes to Sherlock (I refuse to use the absurd UK title anymore).

At the time of my initial thoughts I had only read the first twenty chapters but even that was enough to convince me to not only keep reading but to also convince me that this was one of the most original and needed Sherlockian books to appear for some years.

US and UK editions of the book
As a Sherlockian and Doylean I was very familiar with the events up to, and a few years beyond, Sir Arthur's death. After this I started to read more and more with which I had varying levels of familiarity ranging from fairly familiar to "I never knew that". The parts dealing with the eccentric behaviour of Adrian, Denis and the other members (and in-laws) of the Conan Doyle family were familiar but I nonetheless learned new details. Any Sherlockian worth their salt loves new facts and, for me, there was a lot to love.

The chapters covering events following the deaths of Denis and Adrian contained far more that I did not know. The Sherlockian journeys of Mitch Cullin and others were intriguing even if they didn't always leave me convinced of the magnitude of their contributions to the wider Sherlockian world.

Denis and Adrian Conan Doyle had a tendency to be difficult and demanding
If I have a criticism, and I'm really scratching around for one here, it is that the Sherlock Holmes societies outside of the US do not feature to the extent I would have liked or expected. The focus is overwhelmingly on the Baker Street Irregulars and some of its satellite societies which, to the uninitiated, could easily give the impression that the present popularity of Sherlock Holmes is almost entirely down to US based events. Readers of this book who are hardened Sherlockians will know that is not the case.

All the above said, this is probably the most interesting book on the world of Sherlockiana to emerge in the 21st century. I look forward to the next edition as more happens concerning our collective obsession.

Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here

1 comment:

  1. I'm still a couple discs away from finishing the well narrated audio-cd version of Mattias Bostrom's amazing work and I must say I totally concur with your opinions of it. Being Mattias is Swedish, and and B.S.I. member, one can only expect it to have a slant in the direction of knowledge of Holmes in Sweden and the inner workings of the B.S.I. group. A slant that one must tolerate whenever confronted by a B.S.I. member on the subject of Sherlock Holmes, or those Doyle boys. The subject of Sherlock Holmes and whom was influenced by him is a subject so vast that no one work could hope to throughly cover the subject. Still Mattias Bostrom's "From Holmes to Sherlock", a title well explained by chapter one (and yes I totally agree, made absurd by the U.K. title), I find quite phenomenal in it's attempt to achieve, and especially in it's elegance of presentation (audio CD reference). It is a very well researched work, which I whole-heartedly recommend, and I'm sure that everyone from novice to experienced Holmesians will enjoy, as well as learn from. In any revised edition of John Bennett Shaw's Top 100 Compilation of Sherlockian Literature Lists one may make, they had best include this near the top.