Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review: The Mysterious World of Sherlock Holmes by Bruce Wexler

The Mysterious World of Sherlock Holmes
The Mysterious World of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Bruce Wexler
Publisher: Running Press (2008)
Hardcover, 192 pages, $14.95
ISBN-10: 0762432527
ISBN-13: 978-0762432523

Lavishly illustrated, The Mysterious World of Sherlock Holmes is a companion guide to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Great Detective.

The book includes a biography of Conan Doyle, a history of Sherlock Holmes in print as well as on stage and screen, and an examination of the Holmes phenomenon today. Wexler also briefly touches on Sherlock Holmes' role in the evolution of crime fiction, the class structure of Victorian society, Victorian medicine and Holmes' use of forensic investigative techniques.

Over 150 illustrations are beautifully presented throughout the book. Many of Sidney Padget's iconic images are reproduced as full or half-page illustrations. There are many photographs of Victorian London and weapons that were common to the era. The section picturing some of Holmes' key possessions (such as his deerstalker hat, magnifying glass, pipe, Persian slipper, and violin) was especially interesting to me. When I first read through the Sherlock Holmes stories as a teenager, I had no idea what a Persian slipper looked like. I would have had no such trouble envisioning Holmes' quirky method of tobacco storage if this book had been available then.

Read my full review at Bookish Ruth.