SINCE the days of Dickens there has been no character in English fiction like Sherlock Holmes ; to his countless admirers he is a figure as real and familiar as the Nelson Column or the Tower of London. Small wonder that pious enthusiasts, finding in his personality and exploits a fascinating field for biographical research, have already produced a whole literature of Sherlockian scholarship and criticism, of which the present volume is the latest and not the least entertaining example. For this intimate " Portrait of a Detective in his Dressing Gown " Mr. Starrett has ransacked the adventures from end to end : here will be found all the available data as to Holmes's ancestry and education ; a list of his monographs, including the immortal treatise on one hundred and forty varieties of tobacco ash ; a summary of the rival theories as to the precise situation of 22IB Baker Street ; and even a thumbnail sketch of Mrs. Hudson, his landlady. Most of us remember Holmes 's deplorable addiction to cocaine, but not, perhaps, his more innocent taste for Turkish baths and picture galleries ; and how many of his devotees know that there is an actual railway engine, running appropriately from Baker Street Station, that bears his. name. Over the great man's shoulder, we catch glimpses also of his staunch and stolid henchman, Dr. Watson, and, to round off the main theme, there are chapters on the genius of their author and only begetter, Sir A. Conan Doyle, and on the actors who have made them live on the stage and screen. Finally, there is a bibliography, invaluable to collectors, of first editions and Holmesiana.
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