Saturday, 16 April 2011

Review: Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle Locations

Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle Locations: A Visitor's GuideI was pleasantly surprised to receive a review copy of Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle Locations (Amazon.co.uk link) in the post the other day.

As most Sherlock Holmes Books readers will know, Conan Doyle's life was almost as interesting as his detective's. So it's fitting that the book includes probably as many references to the author's adventures and life as Sherlock Holmes'.

This is reflected in the structure of the book - it has two parts: Scotland and England (in that order - and references to other nations are missing).  I suspect the ordering reflects the author's day job as a tour operator in Edinburgh - not that there's anything wrong with that. The emphasis is also very much on locations where you might see something interesting rather than every reference to a street or location in the canon (you might visit Sherlockian Atlas for that) and some of them are fairly tangential.

Here's an example. The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich gets a mention because it houses some relics from HMS Foudroyant - the disposal of which annoyed Conan Doyle so much that he wrote a letter to the Admirality about it.

It makes for a well researched, quirky and fascinating read though and is perfect for dipping into from time to time. All of the locations you'd expect to see here are included and each usually supported with a photograph, a few hundred words pointing out relevant passages from the original books or context together with recommendations for further reading.

Similarly if you're in an area, many of the locations mentioned are open to the public and would make a great day out either on their own or by combining a few nearby ones.

Finally a word on the format. It's quite a slim volume (around 150 pages) but A4 sized. I suspect I'd be more likely to carry it around if it had used the pocket format of the Lonely Planet et al guides but it's a perfect addition to your coffee table for a spot of casual browsing. 

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