Christopher Redmond

A Sherlock Holmes Handbook

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Here in one convenient book by a noted Sherlockian scholar is everything needed for the study and enjoyment of the Holmes canon: information on the stories and their publishing history; an assessment of a century of illustrators; a biography of Arthur Conan Doyle and a bibliography of his other writings; commentary on the films and plays about Sherlock Holmes; synopses of the stories and information about their characters; a survey of Victorian life and on the geography and social scene of 1895 London; and information on current Sherlockian organizations. A final section comments on the lasting appeal of Sherlock Holmes and what he means to generations of readers.
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    valentinebouchet1has quotedlast year
    Holmes’s solutions are solutions of individual crimes and serve only to restore the imbalance caused by that crime. He never brings the original balance into question.
    valentinebouchet1has quotedlast year
    Sherlock Holmes is the defender of social norms; he enters a case not when a law, but when a norm, has been broken…. An exorbitant wage is cause for investigation. There should be no secrets between a husband and wife, yet one spouse in a marriage is acting mysteriously. Two people are scheduled to marry, but one fails to show up at the altar. No public crime has been committed, no private transgression even, but an unspoken social rule has been broken.
    And much the same is true of other detectives on the printed page; their business is to investigate what seems odd, as well as to take obvious murders in hand. Holmes is in this way, as well as in his defence of the moral law, profoundly conservative. His personal eccentricities hardly cancel that continuing truth.
    valentinebouchet1has quotedlast year
    hat at least was secure income, enough to permit luxuries like magazines, travel, and antimacassars in the parlour. More than one case mentions the new and glamorous profession of engineering; other cases involve lawyers, doctors, clerks, civil servants of varying status, military officers, a tea merchant, a schoolmaster, and a newspaperman. Such people were the readers of the Holmes stories as well as their characters; they were a new phenomenon in England with the nineteenth century increase in literacy, and they made the Strand Magazine possible and necessary. Lower on the social scale, in turn, come such clients as landladies, governesses (though they might move, on carefully limited terms, in the households of the gentry and even nobility), pawnbrokers and policemen.
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