Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die by Alex Werner

From TheBookbag
Jump to: navigation, search


Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die by Alex Werner

Category: History
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: Who is Sherlock Homes? Find out what influenced Conan-Doyle to write his famous detective stories and discover how they continue to delight a new generation of fans in this comprehensive guide to all things Holmes.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: October 2014
Publisher: Ebury press
ISBN: 9780091958725

Share on: Delicious Digg Facebook Reddit Stumbleupon Follow us on Twitter



It has been over 125 years since the first Sherlock Holmes story was written and since then, the character has been subject to countless interpretations on stage, screen and in literature. Such was the popularity of the famous detective, that his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, attempted on more than one occasion to 'free himself' from Holmes, the most notable example being his 'death' at Reichenbach Falls. Readers were most upset and Doyle eventually bowed to public pressure, reviving the eponymous hero for further adventures. In the years that followed, Holmes took on a life independent of his author, as his stories were adapted for stage and film. An unconcerned Doyle allowed free rein with the character, famously saying: You may marry or murder or do whatever you like with him.

Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die has been written to accompany a landmark exhibition at the Museum of London; the first of its kind since 1951. The book is split into sections, each written by a different author, exploring different aspects of the Holmesian universe. We discover that the mental image conjured up when we think of Holmes is an amalgam derived from a number of influences: Doyle's original writings, Sidney Paget's evocative illustrations and William Gillette, the first actor to play Holmes, who introduced the trademark curved pipe and the phrase Elementary my dear fellow!. Such is the enduring popularity of Holmes that his stories continue to be adapted to appeal to a new generation of fans.

The book itself is visually engaging, with many beautiful photographs, artworks and maps that help the reader to visualise late nineteenth-century London, with its murky backstreets and permanent fog. It is interesting to note that although Doyle lived in London, he was only there for a very short time and was not particularly familiar with the city. When writing his books, he relied on detailed maps in order to give a convincing portrayal of Victorian London, although experts will acknowledge that his work is riddled with errors and that his depictions of London fail to capture the true spirit of the city.

The book also contains an extract from the Strand magazine, which features an interview with Doyle. I must confess to being completely mesmerised by the photograph of Doyle and his wife sitting on a rather rickety tandem, dominated by two huge front wheels. They used to travel everywhere on it and it looks like it would have been great fun to ride. The same article also features some interesting information on the man who was the inspiration for Holmes' character; the enigmatic Dr Joseph Bell, who would surprise his patients by deducing certain facts about them based on their clothing and demeanour.

The chapters are well researched and scholarly, although they can seem a little too deep at times. This is no lighthearted read and as a result, certain chapters feel heavy-going. Another problem with the book is that there can be significant overlap between chapters, with a lot of repetition of the same information and in some cases, the same pictures.

This book would make a lovely gift for any Holmes fan and the beautiful pictures in the book will keep readers returning time and time again. Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy.

Bookbag also enjoyed Eliminate the Impossible: An Examination of the World of Sherlock Holmes on Page and Screen by Alistair Duncan and Steve Emecz which will appeal to Holmes fans.

Buy Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die by Alex Werner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die by Alex Werner at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die by Alex Werner at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die by Alex Werner at Amazon.com.


Comments

Like to comment on this review?

Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.