A Sherlock Holmes Who's Who (With of Course Dr.Watson) by Molly Carr

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A Sherlock Holmes Who's Who (With of Course Dr.Watson) by Molly Carr

Category: Entertainment
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Little more than a list of appearances for characters, places and items in the Holmes canon along with some very brief details, this is a missed opportunity for Sherlockians.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 268 Date: March 2012
Publisher: MX Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781780920825

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Given the amount written about Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, even the most dedicated of Sherlockians must sometimes require a refresher on the characters. As I'm certainly not the most dedicated of anything, although I love Holmes and have read the entire canon, I was eagerly anticipating the chance to remind myself of those within. Sadly, this book has done little to quench my anticipation.

The main problem here is author Molly Carr doesn't seem to know who she's aiming the book at. Is it the Holmes novice? In that case, her decision to avoid almost any spoilers in the entire book makes sense - but is this really something that's going to be picked up by people who haven't read most, or all, of the Sherlock stories before? I'm struggling to find a reason you'd want to look up the role played in the stories by an ear-flapped travelling-cap if you weren't a dedicated fan already.

If it's someone who's read all of Holmes' adventures, though, the lack of anything of substance is likely to be off-putting. I don't care that Victor Hatherley was an hydraulic engineer, of 16A Victoria Street. I'd much rather be reminded of some of the details of his case. Similarly, the entry on Dr. Grimesby Roylott, one of Conan Doyle's most memorable villains, tells us nothing we don't learn in the first three or four pages of the story he appears in. I'd much rather have been reminded of the stunning ending to the tale than just filled in on his background.

Were my expectations unreasonable? I don't think so. The back cover of the book suggests it will give far more details than we actually get, particularly when it asks What was [Moriarty's] henchman, Colonel Moran, up to in an empty house? Thankfully, I've read the story and already know the answer - because the entry in here on the Colonel doesn't even mention he was there, never mind give a reason!

If you want a list of which stories characters, places, and objects appeared in, along with a very brief description, this is passable. From the usually reliable MX Publishing, though, I have to confess I'm less than impressed.

For a really good non-fiction book about Holmes, check out Close to Holmes: A Look at the Connections Between Historical London, Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Alistair Duncan.

Buy A Sherlock Holmes Who's Who (With of Course Dr.Watson) by Molly Carr at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Sherlock Holmes Who's Who (With of Course Dr.Watson) by Molly Carr at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Sherlock Holmes Who's Who (With of Course Dr.Watson) by Molly Carr at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Sherlock Holmes Who's Who (With of Course Dr.Watson) by Molly Carr at Amazon.com.


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The author said:

Robert James takes me to task (quite fairly) over the Colonel Sebastian Moran entry, not so fairly when it comes to Victor Hatherley and Grimsby Rylott. It was not my intention to re-write the canon, but to point readers in Doyle's direction - something which other reviewers have picked up.


Robert James said:

Thanks for the comment, Molly. It's unfortunate that the back of the book seemed to promise more answers (as with the Colonel Moran comment) than we received. If it was made clearer that the book was aimed at steering those with little or no knowledge of Holmes in Doyle's direction I would have avoided reviewing as I clearly don't fit that profile.