The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany

The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany - Roger Johnson, Jean Upton, Gyles Brandreth This book could have been called The Sherlockian Miscellany, as it has more to say about the study of Holmes and those who study him than it does about the Great Detective himself.There are chapters on Holmes's appearances in film, TV, comics, graphic novels, on the stage, in the pastiches and parodies of other writers, in marketing and in merchandising. There are also quite a number of lists like the one I've just made, which are often without further commentary and so not particularly useful.Much is made of the origins of the various Sherlock Holmes societies and, in the cases of the Baker Street Irregulars (USA) and the Sherlock Holmes Society of London (UK), a fair amount of detail regarding their membership and customs. Interesting, perhaps (or not, depending on how much information you want about these clubs), but about Sherlockians, rather than Holmes himself. I'm not sure what the purpose is in listing the websites of the various societies in different countries as, if you're that interested and have access to the internet, a quick search will find them for you. Perhaps they could have been listed at the back, if anywhere, as a further appendix rather than within the body of the text.There are, however, very good chapters on some of those words, artefacts and customs that were commonplace in Doyle's time and which have become less well-known in the century or so since, and also on "Frequently Asked Questions". If there had been more like this, directly about Holmes and his world, then I, for one, would have been better pleased.So, slightly disappointing and a squandered opportunity which does not live up to Gyles Brandreth's breathless comment in his foreword that, "It is the one book that has been missing from the shelf of the true Sherlockian," but ultimately enough of interest to make it worth the cover price.One final peeve, though a thoroughly parochial one, is that of the authors' use the term "Sherlockian" throughout, which is the American usage, while I prefer the term "Holmesian", the British usage. Well, I am British, so that partly accounts for that. But also, Mr Holmes was himself British and a gentleman and, frankly, I do not think he would be best pleased with his first name being used with such undue familiarity.