The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories

ISBN 13 : 9781101870891

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories

9781101870891: The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories
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INTRODUCTION
Otto Penzler
 
About a hundred years ago, Sherlock Holmes was described as one of the three most famous people who ever lived, the other two being Jesus Christ and Houdini. There are some who claim that he is a fictional character but this notion is, of course, absurd. Every schoolchild knows what he looks like, what he does for a living, and most know many of his peculiar characteristics.

The tall, slender, hawk-nosed figure, with his deerstalker hat and Inverness cape, is instantly recognizable in every corner of the world. In addition to the superb stories describing his adventures written by his friend, roommate, and chronicler, Dr. John H. Watson (with the assistance of his literary agent, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Holmes has been impersonated on the stage, television, radio, and in countless motion pictures. More than 25,000 books, stories, and articles have been written about him by famous authors, amateur writers, and scholars.

This collection of Sherlock Holmes parodies and pastiches is the largest ever assembled. It contains serious pastiches by distinguished literary figures, equally good stories by less exalted Sherlockians, and some truly dreadful parodies included here for historical interest more than reading pleasure. They are, mercifully, brief.

Inevitably, I have drawn on the work of others. The first and greatest anthology of its kind is The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes (1944), edited by Ellery Queen, a brilliant, pioneering anthologist whose best collections ( 101 Years’ Entertainment: The Great Detective Stories 1841–1941 (1941), its sequel, To the Queen’s Taste (1946), The Female of the Species (1943), and others are true cornerstones of detective fiction.

Other scholars and aficionados who have unearthed material and whose books have provided access to rare and obscure material are Robert Adey, Richard Lancelyn Green, Charles Press, Marvin Kaye, and Mike Ashley.

My deep affection for Holmes, now exceeding fifty years of reading, has resulted in the addition of stories to this massive tome that never before have been collected in a book devoted to Holmes. While I may not fully concur with Watson’s assessment that Holmes is “the best and wisest man whom I have ever known,” an accolade reserved for a very few dear friends, he has been a trusted and worthy companion for the greatest percentage of my life.

Sherlock (he was nearly named Sherrinford) was born on January 6, 1845, on the farmstead of Mycroft (the name of his older brother) in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He solved his first case (eventually titled “The Gloria Scott”) while a twenty-year-old student at Oxford. Following graduation, he became the world’s first consulting detective--a vocation he followed for twenty-three years.

In January 1881 he was looking for someone to share his new quarters at 221B Baker Street and a friend introduced him to Dr. John H. Watson. Before agreeing to share the apartment, the two men aired their respective shortcomings. Holmes confessed, “I get in the dumps at times, and don’t open my mouth for days on end.” He also smokes a vile shag tobacco and conducts experiments with loathsome-smelling chemicals. He failed, however, to mention an affection for cocaine. Although he ruefully noted his fondness for scratching away at the violin while in contemplation, he proved to be a virtuoso who could calm his roommate’s raw nerves with a melodious air. Watson’s admitted faults include the keeping of a bull pup, a strong objection to arguments because his nerves cannot stand them, a penchant for arising from bed “at all sorts of ungodly hours,” and an immense capacity for laziness. “I have another set of vices when I’m well,” he said, “but those are the principal ones at present.” They became friends, and Watson chronicled the deeds of his illustrious roommate, often to the displeasure of Holmes, who resented the melodramatic and sensational tales. He believed that the affairs, if told at all, should be put to the public as straightforward exercises in cold logic and deductive reasoning.

Holmes possesses not only excellent deductive powers but also a giant intellect. Anatomy, chemistry, mathematics, British law, and sensational literature are but a few areas of his vast sphere of knowledge, although he is admittedly not well versed in such subjects as astronomy, philosophy, and politics. He has published several distinguished works on erudite subjects: Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccos; A Study of the Influence of a Trade upon the Form of the Hand; Upon the Polyphonic Motets of Lassus; A Study of the Chaldean Roots in the Ancient Cornish Language; and, his magnum opus, Practical Handbook in Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen. His four-volume The Whole Art of Detection has not yet been published. When he needs information that his brain does not retain, he refers to a small, carefully selected library of reference works and a series of commonplace books. Since Holmes cares only about facts that aid his work, he ignores whatever he considers superfluous. He explains his theory of education thus: “I consider that a man’s brain is like an empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it…It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time for every addition of knowledge you forget something you knew before.”

An athletic body complements Holmes’s outstanding intelligence. He seems even taller than his 6 feet because he is extremely thin. His narrow, hooked nose and sharp, piercing eyes give him a hawklike appearance. He often astonished Watson with displays of strength and agility; he is a superb boxer, fencer, and singlestick player. He needed all his strength when he met his nemesis, the ultimate archcriminal Professor James Moriarty, in a struggle at the edge of the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. The evenly matched adversaries, locked in battle, fell over the cliff; both were reported to be dead. All England mourned the passing of its great keeper of the law, but in 1894, after being missing for three years, Holmes returned. He had not been killed in the fall, after all, but had seen a good opportunity to fool his many enemies in the underworld.
He had taken over the identity of a Danish explorer, Sigerson, and traveled to many parts of the world, including New Jersey, where he is believed to have had an affair with Irene Adler (who will always be the woman to Holmes), and to Tibet, where he learned the secret of long life from the Dalai Lama.

When Miss Adler (the famous and beautiful opera singer Holmes first meets in “A Scandal in Bohemia”) died in 1903, he retired to keep bees on the southern slopes of the Sussex Downs with his old housekeeper, Mrs. Martha Hudson. He came out of retirement briefly before World War I, but his life since then has been quiet.
Holmes has outlived the people who have participated at various times in his adventures. In addition to Mycroft, Watson, Moriarty, Irene Adler, and Mrs. Hudson, the best-known auxiliary personalities in the stories include Billy the Page Boy, who occasionally announces visitors to 221B; Mary Morstan, who becomes Mrs. Watson; The Baker Street Irregulars, street urchins led by Wiggins, who scramble after information for Holmes’s coins; Lestrade, an inept Scotland Yard inspector; Stanley Hopkins, a Scotland Yard man of greater ability; Gregson, the “smartest of the Scotland Yarders,” according to Holmes; and Colonel Sebastian Moran, “the second most dangerous man in London.”

The first story written about Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet, originally appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual for 1887 and subsequently was published in book form in London by Ward, Lock & Company in 1888; the first American edition was published by J.B. Lippincott Company in 1890. Holmes is called to assist Scotland Yard on what Inspector Tobias Gregson calls “a bad business at 3, Lauriston Gardens.” An American, Enoch J. Drebber, has been murdered, and Yard men can point to only a single clue, the word “Rache” scrawled upon the wall in blood. They believe it to be the first letters of a woman’s name, Rachel, but Holmes suggests that it is the German word for “revenge.” Soon, the dead man’s private secretary, Stangerson, is also found murdered; the same word is written in blood nearby. A long middle section of this novel, dealing with Mormons, is an unusual flashback.

The Sign of Four
first appeared simultaneously in the English and American editions of Lippincott’s Magazine for February 1890. Spencer Blacket published the first English book edition in the same year; P.F. Collier published the first American book edition in 1891. Calling at 221B Baker Street for help is Mary Morstan, a fetching young lady by whom Watson is totally charmed; ultimately, he marries her. She is the daughter of a captain in the Indian Army who had mysteriously disappeared ten years earlier and had never been heard from again. Four years after the disappearance, Miss Morstan received an anonymous gift, a huge, lustrous pearl, and received another like it each year thereafter. Holmes and Watson accompany her to a tryst with the eccentric Thaddeus Sholto, twin brother of Bartholomew Sholto and the son of a major who had been Captain Morstan’s only friend in London. Holmes sets out to find a fabulous treasure and is soon involved with the strange Jonathan Small and Tonga.

 b“A Scandal in Bohemia” first appeared in The Strand Magazine in July 1891; its first book appearance was in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892). The first published short story in which Holmes appears features the detective in an uncharacteristic battle of wits with a lady and with no real crime to be solved. The King of Bohemia has had a rather indiscreet affair with the beautiful Irene Adler, who threatens to create an international scandal when he attempts to discard her and marry a noblewoman. Holmes is hired to obtain possession of a certain unfortunate photograph before it can be sent to the would-be bride’s royal family. Holmes is outwitted, and he never stops loving Irene for fooling him.

In The Hounds of the Baskervilles (1902), Sir Charles Baskerville, of Baskerville Hall, Dartmoor, Devon, has been found dead. There are no signs of violence at the scene, but his face is incredibly distorted with terror. Dr. James Mortimer enlists the aid of Holmes to protect the young heir to the estate, Sir Henry Baskerville. Watson goes to the grim moor to keep an eye on Sir Henry but is warned to return to London by a neighbor, Beryl Stapleton, the beautiful sister of a local naturalist, who hears a blood-chilling moan at the edge of the great Grimpen Mire and identifies it as the legendary Hound of the Baskervilles, calling for its prey.
The original stories about Holmes number sixty; more than a hundred times that number have been written by other authors, however. Even Conan Doyle wrote a parody of the characters, contained in this collection.

Today, of course, Holmes continues to be a multi-media super-star, appearing in two internationally successful starring Robert Downey, Jr., as Holmes, the Sherlock Holmes BBC television series starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and Elementary, the wildly popular CBS series starring Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson.

Although universally beloved, there were a few who were not enamored of the great detective, however, and his detractors were led by none other than Doyle himself. Having had enough of Holmes, believing that he had far superior works to write, Doyle famously threw him off the cliff at the edge of Switzerland’s Reichenbach falls, along with the insidious Professor Moriarty.

Here is Doyle’s own account of the death of Holmes, with an introductory note by the editor of the magazine in which it first appeared. It was originally published as “Conan Doyle Tells the True Story of Sherlock Holmes” in the December 15, 1900, issue of Tit-Bits; it has been reprinted as “A Gaudy Death” and as “Conan Doyle Tells the True Story of Sherlock Holmes’s End.” Fortunately, as is well known, Doyle eventually bowed to public pressure and resurrected him to write two more novels and thirty-six additional short stories

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The Field Bazaar
Arthur Conan Doyle

The University of Edinburgh hosted a fund-­raiser on November 19, 20, and 21, 1896, in order to build a sports pavilion. The Field Bazaar, which featured exhibitions, concerts, military bands, and theatrical performances, raised about three thousand pounds from its students and the general public, a substantial portion of which resulted from a special edition of The Student , the university’s publication. The Bazaar Number featured work by an extraordinary array of many of Great Britain’s most popular authors of the day, including Robert Barr, James M. Barrie, Walter Besant, Israel Zangwill, and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Conan Doyle was asked for a Sherlock Holmes story. He had already killed his detective, throwing him over the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, along with his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, so there was fervent interest to see whether he would bring him back for his contribution. He failed to do so but provided this pleasant self-­parody instead. The special issue of The Student was in such demand, largely owing to the appearance of Holmes after an absence of three years, that it went into a second printing almost immediately.

“The Field Bazaar” was first published in the November 20, 1896, issue of The Student . The first separate edition was published in an edition of one hundred copies, privately printed for A. G. Macdonell (London, Athaeneum Press, 1934), for distribution to the Baker Street Irregulars in New York for the group’s first dinner.

---

“I?should?certainly do it,” said Sher­lock Holmes.

I started at the interruption, for my companion had been eating his breakfast with his attention entirely centred upon the paper which was propped up by the coffee pot. Now I looked across at him to find his eyes fastened upon me with the half-­amused, half-­questioning expression which he usually assumed when he felt that he had made an intellectual point.

“Do what?” I asked.

He smiled as he took his slipper from the mantelpiece and drew from it enough shag tobacco to fill the old clay pipe with which he invariably rounded off his breakfast.

“A most characteristic question of yours, Watson,” said he. “You will not, I am sure, be offended if I say that ...

Revue de presse :

“Catnip for Sherlock Holmes fans. . . . The list of who hasn’t weighed in on the World’s Greatest Detective has become much shorter than the roll of those who have. . . .
The question must be asked: Did we need another one? Yes. And Otto Penzler’s Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories is that book. . . . For those who love the cranky inhabitant at 221B, and for those who appreciate good writing about him, and especially for those who can’t get enough of other 'takes' on him.”
     — The Seattle Times
 
“Hours upon hours of entertainment for both new fans and Baker Street Irregulars alike.”
     — Paste
 
“The perfect gift for the Holmes fan who has everything but the 'Herlock Shomes At It Again' parody written by Anonymous in 1916.”
     — The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg)

“A landmark volume. . . . Essential. . . . Easily the largest collection of Sherlockiana tales ever published. It merits celebration on that basis alone, as a bibliographic event of gargantuan proportions. . . . Show[s] the profound effect Holmes and Watson have had on popular culture and on other writers of crime fiction.”
     — Booklist (starred review)      

“The breadth of this anthology, which spans over a century and includes everything from straight pastiches and parodies to fully developed whodunits, is but one of its virtues. . . . The variety of approaches  is an eloquent testament to Conan Doyle’s genius in creating such an iconic character. . . . Perhaps Penzler’s most significant contribution is rescuing from undeserved obscurity talented writers who have captured the Watsonian narrative voice and combined it with brilliant deductions and mesmerizing plots. . . . This volume is a must for all fans of the great detective.”
     — Publishers Weekly (starred, boxed review)
 
“Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 60 stories about Holmes, and more than 6,000 have been penned by other authors since. This collection gathers the best of those stories from Holmes admirers. . . . The pieces are separated into categories, which makes choosing a story more fun for the reader. . . . A must-have for all libraries. This is the only book of its kind to collect so many pastiches dedicated to Holmes, 83 total. Fans of the fictional detective will find great joy in this tome.”
     — Library Journal (starred review)

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Description du livre Pantheon Books, United States, 2015. Hardback. État : New. 234 x 180 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Presenting Edgar Award-winning editor Otto Penzler s latest anthology, The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories, the largest collection of Sherlockian tales ever assembled now in a deluxe hardcover edition, perfect for the collector and gift markets. Arguably no other character in history has been so enduringly popular as Sherlock Holmes.Ever since his first appearance, in Arthur Conan Doyle s 1887 novella A Study in Scarlet, readers have loved reading about him almost as much as writers have loved writing about him. Here, Otto Penzler collects eighty-three wonderful stories about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, published over a span of more than a hundred years. Featuring pitch-perfect cases by acclaimed modern-day Sherlockians Leslie S. Klinger, Laurie R. King, Lyndsay Faye and Daniel Stashower; pastiches by literary luminaries both classic (P. G. Wodehouse, Dorothy B. Hughes, Kingsley Amis) and current (Anne Perry, Stephen King, Colin Dexter); and parodies by Conan Doyle s contemporaries A. A. Milne, James M. Barrie, and O. Henry, not to mention genre-bending cases by science-fiction greats Poul Anderson and Michael Moorcock. No matter if your favorite Holmes is Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, Robert Downey, Jr., or Benedict Cumberbatch, whether you are a lifelong fan or only recently acquainted with the Great Detective, readers of all ages are sure to enjoy The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories. Including - Over a century s worth of cases, from Conan Doyle s 1890s parodies of his own creation to Neil Gaiman s The Case of Death and Honey (2011) - Appearances by those other great detectives Hercule Poirot and C. Auguste Dupin - 15 Edgar Award winning authors and 5 Mystery Writers of America Grand Masters - Stories by Laurie R. King, Colin Dexter, Anthony Burgess, Anne Perry, Stephen King, P.G. Wodehouse, Kingsley Amis, and many, many more. N° de réf. du libraire AAS9781101870891

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