Saturday, 29 December 2012

Fiction Reads: Classic Sherlock Holmes

We all have our stories of been had in matters related to purchasing goods, but for us bookworms, it is another thing altogether. A book may seem unreasonable to procure, too expensive, but once one calls out to you in some ultrasonic scale of the Sirens*, nothing much can be done about it. 

I talk here now of the most unlikely siren of a book that lured me from a bookstall as I alighted from a Pune-Mumbai bus, a couple of years ago on a May morning. Despite its dictionary-like bulge and paperback status, this one had a bright red cover with a large smoking pipe on it. The title proclaimed - Classic Sherlock Holmes

Now would you blame me? This edition has all the 56 short stories and four novels that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ever wrote. Nine books compiled into one, to be more precise, the complete Sherlock Holmes. All of 1122 pages, stories arranged chronologically, and comfortable in the hand, not heavy. The bus had halted for fifteen minutes that passengers had a quick breakfast. I bought the book, ate little, gulped down tea.

Once the geek clouds cleared, I noticed that – 1. The text font size could have been a couple of points larger. 2. The edition could easily have been divided into two portable volumes and peppered with illustrations. 3. The volume could have been in hardcover.4. My stomach was growling its emptiness. 

Apart from these complaints, Classic Sherlock Holmes is a steal. A complete edition is the pride of any bookshelf, a ready pick whenever the inclination to read any Holmes story seizes the reader.

See Holmes and Watson been introduced to each other in A Study in Scarlet (1887), watch Holmes fall off a waterfall with his nemesis in The Final Problem (1893), read one of the most contrived stories that brought Holmes back from the dead on public demand - The Adventure of the Empty House (1903) and end with the final Holmes story ever written by Doyle, The Adventure of the Shoscombe Old Place (1927).

If you are looking for the ultimate Sherlock Holmes one-book compilation, this one is your best bet.

(Article by Snehith Kumbla) 

*See Ulysses by Homer

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