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Hardcover The Ultimate Sherlock Holmes Encyclopedia Book

ISBN: 051765444X

ISBN13: 9780517654446

The Ultimate Sherlock Holmes Encyclopedia

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Format: Hardcover

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Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Excellent Companion to Sherlock

An excellent companion reference book to Sherlock Holmes stories. It helps make the stories much more vivid and realistic when you don't have to guess at what the "old" terms mean. A definite good buy!


To those of us who love and value the smallest of details in Doyle's stories, Jack Tracy's "The Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana" has remained a valued resource for over thirty years now. If you are new to the canon, please do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy of this volume. I also recommend it as an excellent companion piece to both Leslie Klinger's "New Annotated Sherlock Holmes" and William S. Baring-Gould's earlier "Annotated Sherlock Holmes."

Not so elementary...

One thing that any fan of Sherlock Holmes knows is that the solution is in the details, and that attention to the details is of vital importance. One thing the Conan Doyle would do in his short stories and novels featuring Holmes would be to overload on details, rather like a magician redirecting attention away; the task for the reader, as indeed it was for Holmes, was to identify which details were meaningful, and which could be safely discarded. Holmes would keep nothing useless in mind, being mindful of clutter - he purported (A Study in Scarlet) not to even be aware that the earth went round the sun, rather than vice versa, as it was not relevant to his work. One assumes that he was pulling the good Dr. Watson's leg, as there are times when such information might be relevant, and as such, Holmes would know it.There are several versions of the canonical stories available, and various commentaries on these tales published. There is also an ever-growing body of apocryphal tales put out by modern writers. However, there aren't many reference books on Holmes available. Therefore, the 'Encyclopedia Sherlockiana' by Jack Tracy is a welcome volume for any Holmes fan. It is a great companion volume to any serious reader (and many the casual reader) of the canonical tales.Just as any reader of Holmes tales will need to have a care for detail, so too does Tracy have a great eye for the details in the stories. Arranged rather in the fashion of an encyclopedic dictionary more so than as an encyclopedia proper, this one-volume text cover the A-to-Zed of the stories, the people, the places, the objects, the weapons, and other minutiae of the tales.For example, it is well known that Holmes' arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty, won acclaim by a treatise upon the Binomial Theorem. But what is the Binomial Theorem? You will find out the basics here - alas, it is one of those bits of trivia that Holmes himself might have tried hard to forget, having no direct relevance to the case. Or did it?Entries for each of the stories, each of the heroes, innocents and villains, each of the places visited or referenced, and major plot devices are carefully explained. Other entries, such as streets mentioned in passing, peripheral historical characters or details, or general linguistic and cultural details, are explained with short but useful definitions situating them in their greater context for the story.There is a generous supply of maps, line-art drawings, and photographs throughout the dictionary. The first maps are of London, close up and further out (back when there still was a Middlesex), as they were in Holmes' late Victorian time. Most of the entries look to the time period from 1890 to 1910; Holmes tales extended beyond these times, but the baseline is set for this period. Tracy engages in what he calls the 'high-camp intellectual joke' of the 'reality' of Holmes and Watson; in entries where the line between fact and fiction has been blurred (if not er
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