Ex Libris – Sherlock Holmes

Most of you have heard of Sherlock Holmes. He’s a notorious literary detective, created by Sir Author Conan Doyle, famous for his logical reasoning and use of forensics to solve difficult cases. Holmes first appeared in publication in 1887, and was featured in four novels and 56 short stories. All but four stories are narrated by Holmes’s friend, biographer, and roommate, Dr. John H. Watson.

There have been countless plays, TV series, and moves made about him , including the BBC series starring Jeremy Brett, who will forever be Sherlock Holmes in my mind.

But besides being fantastic detective stories, I have other reasons for being a Sherlock Holmes fan. Because without him, I would not be here. My parents, both Sherlockians, attended some sort of club meeting at the same and inevitably met, went out for drinks, and the rest is history.

So it seemed appropriate that I own some Sherlock Holmes novels, and thankfully Penguin made it easy to decide which ones to buy. These gorgeous paperback film-noir type covers are absolutely stunning. The cover design is by Coralee Bickford-Smith, who is a talented senior cover designer at Penguin, responsible for many of the brilliant book covers in my collection.

Though he’s frequently attributed as saying this, Sherlock Holmes never actually said “Elementary, my dear Watson” in any of the stories by Conan Doyle. The actual quotation is:

“I have the advantage of knowing your habits, my dear Watson,” said he. “When your round is a short one you walk, and when it is a long one you use a hansom. As I perceive that your boots, although used, are by no means dirty, I cannot doubt that you are at present busy enough to justify the hansom.”

“Excellent!” I cried.

“Elementary,” said he. “It is one of those instances where the reasoner can produce an effect which seems remarkable to his neighbour, because the latter has missed the one little point which is the basis of the deduction. The same may be said, my dear fellow, for the effect of some of these little sketches of yours, which is entirely meretricious, depending as it does upon your retaining in your own hands some factors in the problem which are never imparted to the reader.”

So now you know!


6 Replies to “Ex Libris – Sherlock Holmes”

  1. When I was hanging out with James last night, I saw his big book of Holmes and we both started talking about how gay were for Holmes. Mike Holmes, that is, but we eventually got around to sherlock.

    When I was in grade eight, I saw a paperback at a chapters in Victoria that had all of the Sherlock stories reprinted from the strand magazine back in in the day and it was just such a neat object, I HAD to have it. Unfortunately, the parent told me I wasn’t allowed to, because holiday money was for things we could only get in Victoria, and she wouldn’t let me waste money on something I could probably get at home. Whelp, when we got home (and I earned enough money) I went to our local chapters and they were sold out. I was heartbroken. But, life went on.

    And then Christmas came, and I opened my gift from my parent. It was the book! She had picked it up in Victoria somehow (I don’t really know how she accomplished this because we weren’t allowed out of her sight in a strange city) and… yeah. That was a rad gift. That book looks TERRIBLE now, from the way I packed it around for the better part of two years. Terrible enough to contemplate buying those swank ass versions you have there. God dammit.

  2. I have some Lovecraft books from that series. They have the beautiful pulp-style covers and for some reason, the books themselves smell amazing.

  3. ‘Tis true, your father and I met at the inaugural meeting of the CPR Stockholders, the Edmonton chapter of a Sherlock Holmes society. Your father was there because he didn’t want to meet any women and that it would be a gathering of dusty, grumpy men. I was there hoping not to appear to be scouting out men. Call it a plot twist.

  4. Have you seen the new BBC series, Sherlock? It’s by no means the classic Holmes, but it’s very faithful to the feel of the books, except in a modern setting. Plus, the actor playing Holmes has the most British name EVER: Benedict Cumberbatch.

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