Keith R.A. DeCandido (kradical) wrote,
Keith R.A. DeCandido

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oh give me a Holmes.....

Currently, thanks to the kindness of the LJ-less Lipchick, I'm reading the first volume of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes. I intend to read all three volumes, which are edited and annotated by Leslie S. Klinger, and include every single Holmes short story and novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I'd read very little of the original Holmes stories before, and -- after recently reading The Language of Bees, the latest of Laurie R. King's Holmes/Mary Russell books -- realized that I really should read the fershlugginer things. So, since the Lipchick had this gigunda three-volume annotated set, I asked to borrow them.

And I'm glad I'm doing so, as this is some great stuff.

Some of the annotations are unintentionally hilarious, however. While a lot of them are simply explaining contemporary references -- which is quite useful for a reader who exists in a world 100 years away from Holmes and Watson's -- the ones that try to explain the numerous inconsistencies are absurd. People have spent a ridiculous amount of energy contorting themselves to try to explain away stuff that basically boils down to the fact that Conan Doyle was lazy with his technical details and wasn't copy-edited. Watson's first name, the time of his marriage, the years the stories take place in relative to each other, hell even the internal dating of the stories -- none of it is consistent, and it's obvious that it's because Conan Doyle either didn't care or didn't pay enough attention or simply was one of those writers who wasn't good with details (ironic, given his protagonist). Plus, he had the misfortune to write in a pre-Internet age. *laughs*

In any case, I can strongly recommend these books (as I do on the upcoming Chronic Rift podcast, as it happens). These are the stories that pretty much set the tone for the entire mystery genre.
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