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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Finding clues to Sherlock Holmes

Reviewer Martin Levy has a very readable column on Leslie Klinger's The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes in Canada's The Globe and Mail:

Hard to fathom, I know, but there exist people who are not devotees of the Sherlock Holmes canon, who do not, when his name is invoked, hear the baying of the Baskerville hound, or the sinister click of footsteps in the London fog. Or who do not think of the fastest train between St. Pancras and a country house in which some very rum event is about to occur. Or wonder just why it was that the dog did not bark in the night-time, or whether Dr. Watson's Christian name is John or James. snip A number of years ago, on the strength of a column I wrote purporting to have discovered that Holmes really lived (clue: it appeared April 1), I was invited to speak at a conference celebrating the novel's centenary. Since I hadn't read Hound for many, many years (though I read it three times in one year when I was 12 or so), I decided to speak about the experience of reading it 40 years on, seeking old resonances and new impressions. The old resonances were there, certainly: the superb atmosphere, the wild characterization, Holmes's relentless reasoning, the Great Grimpen Mire, a secular vision of Hell, and of course, the spectral hound.


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