Monday, February 11, 2008

A Sherlockian classic returns

My copy of the 75th anniversary edition of Vincent Starrett’s classic The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes arrived in this afternoon’s mail. What a treasure! This early and playful study of the Holmes stories literally launched the Sherlockian “movement” in this country when it was first published in 1933. It’s seen umpteen editions over the years and remains a cornerstone work in Holmesiana. I first read a paperback reprint in the 1970s and have held onto that tattered copy for three decades. But this new hardcover facsimile of the first edition, complete with its original illustrations, can now respectably stand alongside my dozen or more editions of the Saga and the hundred or more Sherlockian studies that line my shelves. Bravo to Ray Betzner, who worked so diligently to make this edition of Starrett’s book a reality. It ain’t cheap, but if you love Sherlock Holmes, you must get this. And if you haven’t yet caught the Sherlockian fever, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes will certainly give it to you.

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