by Michael Hardwick, Mollie Hardwick
Publication Date: January 1, 1962
Genre: Books and Reading, Reference
Publisher: Bramhall House
One of my acquisitions from my visit to the Berkelouw Book Barn, this isn’t really a sit-down-and-read book, so much as it’s a handy reference of characters, story plots and a selection of quotes (which I found to be a mediocre selection, at best). But there are two ‘chapters’ at the back that offer small biographies of Sherlock and Holmes, and one of Conan Doyle himself.
The Sherlock/Watson biographies about what you’d expect, although I’m constantly amazed, whenever I read these types of things, how much presumption is done on the part of the fans who write them, no matter how learned those fans are. I can never get through one without periodic outbursts along the lines of give me a break!. While this one was no different, I was, at least relieved to see that the authors dismissed the nonsense that Holmes, pre-Watson, had had a great love that died, leaving him unable to ever love again.
The chapter of Conan Doyle’s mini-biography was concise but packed with his life, including quite a few facts I’d yet to read about (I have Hesketh’s biography waiting for me on my TBR, and one of these days I’m going to get ahold of Dickson Carr’s ACD bio too). ACD was not only an author of mythical skill, he was a truely good man who fought for pretty much any cause that needed fighting for, and a prescient man, correctly forseeing what a war with submarines and advanced weaponry would mean for the crumbling empire soon the enter WWI. That question that makes the rounds every once in awhile: who would you go back in time to speak with, if you could? Without question, it would be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, every time.