The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories (Anglais) Broché – 27 octobre 2015
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About a hundred years ago, Sherlock Holmes was described as one of the three most famous people who ever lived, the other two being Jesus Christ and Houdini. There are some who claim that he is a fictional character but this notion is, of course, absurd. Every schoolchild knows what he looks like, what he does for a living, and most know many of his peculiar characteristics.
The tall, slender, hawk-nosed figure, with his deerstalker hat and Inverness cape, is instantly recognizable in every corner of the world. In addition to the superb stories describing his adventures written by his friend, roommate, and chronicler, Dr. John H. Watson (with the assistance of his literary agent, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Holmes has been impersonated on the stage, television, radio, and in countless motion pictures. More than 25,000 books, stories, and articles have been written about him by famous authors, amateur writers, and scholars.
This collection of Sherlock Holmes parodies and pastiches is the largest ever assembled. It contains serious pastiches by distinguished literary figures, equally good stories by less exalted Sherlockians, and some truly dreadful parodies included here for historical interest more than reading pleasure. They are, mercifully, brief.
Inevitably, I have drawn on the work of others. The first and greatest anthology of its kind is The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes (1944), edited by Ellery Queen, a brilliant, pioneering anthologist whose best collections (101 Years’ Entertainment: The Great Detective Stories 1841–1941 (1941), its sequel, To the Queen’s Taste (1946), The Female of the Species (1943), and others are true cornerstones of detective fiction.
Other scholars and aficionados who have unearthed material and whose books have provided access to rare and obscure material are Robert Adey, Richard Lancelyn Green, Charles Press, Marvin Kaye, and Mike Ashley.
My deep affection for Holmes, now exceeding fifty years of reading, has resulted in the addition of stories to this massive tome that never before have been collected in a book devoted to Holmes. While I may not fully concur with Watson’s assessment that Holmes is “the best and wisest man whom I have ever known,” an accolade reserved for a very few dear friends, he has been a trusted and worthy companion for the greatest percentage of my life.
Sherlock (he was nearly named Sherrinford) was born on January 6, 1845, on the farmstead of Mycroft (the name of his older brother) in the North Riding of Yorkshire. He solved his first case (eventually titled “The Gloria Scott”) while a twenty-year-old student at Oxford. Following graduation, he became the world’s first consulting detective--a vocation he followed for twenty-three years.
In January 1881 he was looking for someone to share his new quarters at 221B Baker Street and a friend introduced him to Dr. John H. Watson. Before agreeing to share the apartment, the two men aired their respective shortcomings. Holmes confessed, “I get in the dumps at times, and don’t open my mouth for days on end.” He also smokes a vile shag tobacco and conducts experiments with loathsome-smelling chemicals. He failed, however, to mention an affection for cocaine. Although he ruefully noted his fondness for scratching away at the violin while in contemplation, he proved to be a virtuoso who could calm his roommate’s raw nerves with a melodious air. Watson’s admitted faults include the keeping of a bull pup, a strong objection to arguments because his nerves cannot stand them, a penchant for arising from bed “at all sorts of ungodly hours,” and an immense capacity for laziness. “I have another set of vices when I’m well,” he said, “but those are the principal ones at present.” They became friends, and Watson chronicled the deeds of his illustrious roommate, often to the displeasure of Holmes, who resented the melodramatic and sensational tales. He believed that the affairs, if told at all, should be put to the public as straightforward exercises in cold logic and deductive reasoning.
Holmes possesses not only excellent deductive powers but also a giant intellect. Anatomy, chemistry, mathematics, British law, and sensational literature are but a few areas of his vast sphere of knowledge, although he is admittedly not well versed in such subjects as astronomy, philosophy, and politics. He has published several distinguished works on erudite subjects: Upon the Distinction between the Ashes of the Various Tobaccos; A Study of the Influence of a Trade upon the Form of the Hand; Upon the Polyphonic Motets of Lassus; A Study of the Chaldean Roots in the Ancient Cornish Language; and, his magnum opus, Practical Handbook in Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen. His four-volume The Whole Art of Detection has not yet been published. When he needs information that his brain does not retain, he refers to a small, carefully selected library of reference works and a series of commonplace books. Since Holmes cares only about facts that aid his work, he ignores whatever he considers superfluous. He explains his theory of education thus: “I consider that a man’s brain is like an empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it…It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time for every addition of knowledge you forget something you knew before.”
An athletic body complements Holmes’s outstanding intelligence. He seems even taller than his 6 feet because he is extremely thin. His narrow, hooked nose and sharp, piercing eyes give him a hawklike appearance. He often astonished Watson with displays of strength and agility; he is a superb boxer, fencer, and singlestick player. He needed all his strength when he met his nemesis, the ultimate archcriminal Professor James Moriarty, in a struggle at the edge of the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. The evenly matched adversaries, locked in battle, fell over the cliff; both were reported to be dead. All England mourned the passing of its great keeper of the law, but in 1894, after being missing for three years, Holmes returned. He had not been killed in the fall, after all, but had seen a good opportunity to fool his many enemies in the underworld.
He had taken over the identity of a Danish explorer, Sigerson, and traveled to many parts of the world, including New Jersey, where he is believed to have had an affair with Irene Adler (who will always be the woman to Holmes), and to Tibet, where he learned the secret of long life from the Dalai Lama.
When Miss Adler (the famous and beautiful opera singer Holmes first meets in “A Scandal in Bohemia”) died in 1903, he retired to keep bees on the southern slopes of the Sussex Downs with his old housekeeper, Mrs. Martha Hudson. He came out of retirement briefly before World War I, but his life since then has been quiet.
Holmes has outlived the people who have participated at various times in his adventures. In addition to Mycroft, Watson, Moriarty, Irene Adler, and Mrs. Hudson, the best-known auxiliary personalities in the stories include Billy the Page Boy, who occasionally announces visitors to 221B; Mary Morstan, who becomes Mrs. Watson; The Baker Street Irregulars, street urchins led by Wiggins, who scramble after information for Holmes’s coins; Lestrade, an inept Scotland Yard inspector; Stanley Hopkins, a Scotland Yard man of greater ability; Gregson, the “smartest of the Scotland Yarders,” according to Holmes; and Colonel Sebastian Moran, “the second most dangerous man in London.”
The first story written about Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet, originally appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual for 1887 and subsequently was published in book form in London by Ward, Lock & Company in 1888; the first American edition was published by J.B. Lippincott Company in 1890. Holmes is called to assist Scotland Yard on what Inspector Tobias Gregson calls “a bad business at 3, Lauriston Gardens.” An American, Enoch J. Drebber, has been murdered, and Yard men can point to only a single clue, the word “Rache” scrawled upon the wall in blood. They believe it to be the first letters of a woman’s name, Rachel, but Holmes suggests that it is the German word for “revenge.” Soon, the dead man’s private secretary, Stangerson, is also found murdered; the same word is written in blood nearby. A long middle section of this novel, dealing with Mormons, is an unusual flashback.
The Sign of Four first appeared simultaneously in the English and American editions of Lippincott’s Magazine for February 1890. Spencer Blacket published the first English book edition in the same year; P.F. Collier published the first American book edition in 1891. Calling at 221B Baker Street for help is Mary Morstan, a fetching young lady by whom Watson is totally charmed; ultimately, he marries her. She is the daughter of a captain in the Indian Army who had mysteriously disappeared ten years earlier and had never been heard from again. Four years after the disappearance, Miss Morstan received an anonymous gift, a huge, lustrous pearl, and received another like it each year thereafter. Holmes and Watson accompany her to a tryst with the eccentric Thaddeus Sholto, twin brother of Bartholomew Sholto and the son of a major who had been Captain Morstan’s only friend in London. Holmes sets out to find a fabulous treasure and is soon involved with the strange Jonathan Small and Tonga.
b“A Scandal in Bohemia” first appeared in The Strand Magazine in July 1891; its first book appearance was in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892). The first published short story in which Holmes appears features the detective in an uncharacteristic battle of wits with a lady and with no real crime to be solved. The King of Bohemia has had a rather indiscreet affair with the beautiful Irene Adler, who threatens to create an international scandal when he attempts to discard her and marry a noblewoman. Holmes is hired to obtain possession of a certain unfortunate photograph before it can be sent to the would-be bride’s royal family. Holmes is outwitted, and he never stops loving Irene for fooling him.
In The Hounds of the Baskervilles (1902), Sir Charles Baskerville, of Baskerville Hall, Dartmoor, Devon, has been found dead. There are no signs of violence at the scene, but his face is incredibly distorted with terror. Dr. James Mortimer enlists the aid of Holmes to protect the young heir to the estate, Sir Henry Baskerville. Watson goes to the grim moor to keep an eye on Sir Henry but is warned to return to London by a neighbor, Beryl Stapleton, the beautiful sister of a local naturalist, who hears a blood-chilling moan at the edge of the great Grimpen Mire and identifies it as the legendary Hound of the Baskervilles, calling for its prey.
The original stories about Holmes number sixty; more than a hundred times that number have been written by other authors, however. Even Conan Doyle wrote a parody of the characters, contained in this collection.
Today, of course, Holmes continues to be a multi-media super-star, appearing in two internationally successful starring Robert Downey, Jr., as Holmes, the Sherlock Holmes BBC television series starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and Elementary, the wildly popular CBS series starring Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson.
Although universally beloved, there were a few who were not enamored of the great detective, however, and his detractors were led by none other than Doyle himself. Having had enough of Holmes, believing that he had far superior works to write, Doyle famously threw him off the cliff at the edge of Switzerland’s Reichenbach falls, along with the insidious Professor Moriarty.
Here is Doyle’s own account of the death of Holmes, with an introductory note by the editor of the magazine in which it first appeared. It was originally published as “Conan Doyle Tells the True Story of Sherlock Holmes” in the December 15, 1900, issue of Tit-Bits; it has been reprinted as “A Gaudy Death” and as “Conan Doyle Tells the True Story of Sherlock Holmes’s End.” Fortunately, as is well known, Doyle eventually bowed to public pressure and resurrected him to write two more novels and thirty-six additional short stories
The Field Bazaar
Arthur Conan Doyle
The University of Edinburgh hosted a fund-raiser on November 19, 20, and 21, 1896, in order to build a sports pavilion. The Field Bazaar, which featured exhibitions, concerts, military bands, and theatrical performances, raised about three thousand pounds from its students and the general public, a substantial portion of which resulted from a special edition of The Student, the university’s publication. The Bazaar Number featured work by an extraordinary array of many of Great Britain’s most popular authors of the day, including Robert Barr, James M. Barrie, Walter Besant, Israel Zangwill, and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Conan Doyle was asked for a Sherlock Holmes story. He had already killed his detective, throwing him over the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, along with his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, so there was fervent interest to see whether he would bring him back for his contribution. He failed to do so but provided this pleasant self-parody instead. The special issue of The Student was in such demand, largely owing to the appearance of Holmes after an absence of three years, that it went into a second printing almost immediately.
“The Field Bazaar” was first published in the November 20, 1896, issue of The Student. The first separate edition was published in an edition of one hundred copies, privately printed for A. G. Macdonell (London, Athaeneum Press, 1934), for distribution to the Baker Street Irregulars in New York for the group’s first dinner.
“I should certainly do it,” said Sherlock Holmes.
I started at the interruption, for my companion had been eating his breakfast with his attention entirely centred upon the paper which was propped up by the coffee pot. Now I looked across at him to find his eyes fastened upon me with the half-amused, half-questioning expression which he usually assumed when he felt that he had made an intellectual point.
“Do what?” I asked.
He smiled as he took his slipper from the mantelpiece and drew from it enough shag tobacco to fill the old clay pipe with which he invariably rounded off his breakfast.
“A most characteristic question of yours, Watson,” said he. “You will not, I am sure, be offended if I say that any reputation for sharpness which I may possess has been entirely gained by the admirable foil which you have made for me. Have I not heard of debutantes who have insisted upon plainness in their chaperones? There is a certain analogy.”
Our long companionship in the Baker Street rooms had left us on those easy terms of intimacy when much may be said without offence. And yet I acknowledge that I was nettled at his remark.
“I may be very obtuse,” said I, “but I confess that I am unable to see how you have managed to know that I was . . . I was . . .”
“Asked to help in the Edinburgh University Bazaar.”
“Precisely. The letter has only just come to hand, and I have not spoken to you since.”
“In spite of that,” said Holmes, leaning back in his chair and putting his finger tips together, “I would even venture to suggest that the object of the bazaar is to enlarge the University cricket field.”
I looked at him in such bewilderment that he vibrated with silent laughter.
“The fact is, my dear Watson, that you are an excellent subject,” said he. “You are never blasé. You respond instantly to any external stimulus. Your mental processes may be slow but they are never obscure, and I found during breakfast that you were easier reading than the leader in the Times in front of me.”
“I should be glad to know how you arrived at your conclusions,” said I.
“I fear that my good nature in giving explanations has seriously compromised my reputation,” said Holmes. “But in this case the train of reasoning is based upon such obvious facts that no credit can be claimed for it. You entered the room with a thoughtful expression, the expression of a man who is debating some point in his mind. In your hand you held a solitary letter. Now last night you retired in the best of spirits, so it was clear that it was this letter in your hand which had caused the change in you.”
“This is obvious.”
“It is all obvious when it is explained to you. I naturally asked myself what the letter could contain which might have this effect upon you. As you walked you held the flap side of the envelope towards me, and I saw upon it the same shield-shaped device which I have observed upon your old college cricket cap. It was clear, then, that the request came from Edinburgh University—or from some club connected with the University. When you reached the table you laid down the letter beside your plate with the address uppermost, and you walked over to look at the framed photograph upon the left of the mantelpiece.”
It amazed me to see the accuracy with which he had observed my movements. “What next?” I asked.
“I began by glancing at the address, and I could tell, even at the distance of six feet, that it was an unofficial communication. This I gathered from the use of the word ‘Doctor’ upon the address, to which, as a Bachelor of Medicine, you have no legal claim. I knew that University officials are pedantic in their correct use of titles, and I was thus enabled to say with certainty that your letter was unofficial. When on your return to the table you turned over your letter and allowed me to perceive that the enclosure was a printed one, the idea of a bazaar first occurred to me. I had already weighed the possibility of its being a political communication, but this seemed improbable in the present stagnant conditions of politics.
“When you returned to the table your face still retained its expression and it was evident that your examination of the photograph had not changed the current of your thoughts. In that case it must itself bear upon the subject in question. I turned my attention to the photograph, therefore, and saw at once that it consisted of yourself as a member of the Edinburgh University Eleven, with the pavilion and cricket-field in the background. My small experience of cricket clubs has taught me that next to churches and cavalry ensigns they are the most debt-laden things upon earth. When upon your return to the table I saw you take out your pencil and draw lines upon the envelope, I was convinced that you were endeavouring to realize some projected improvement which was to be brought about by a bazaar. Your face still showed some indecision, so that I was able to break in upon you with my advice that you should assist in so good an object.”
I could not help smiling at the extreme simplicity of his explanation.
“Of course, it was as easy as possible,” said I.
My remark appeared to nettle him.
“I may add,” said he, “that the particular help which you have been asked to give was that you should write in their album, and that you have already made up your mind that the present incident will be the subject of your article.”
“But how—!” I cried.
“It is as easy as possible,” said he, “and I leave its solution to your own ingenuity. In the meantime,” he added, raising his paper, “you will excuse me if I return to this very interesting article upon the trees of Cremona, and the exact reasons for their pre-eminence in the manufacture of violins. It is one of those small outlying problems to which I am sometimes tempted to direct my attention.”
How Watson Learned the Trick
Arthur Conan Doyle
One of the most remarkable English artifacts of the early part of the twentieth century was a dolls’ house designed and built for Queen Mary, the wife of George V. Created as a gift to Queen Mary from the people, it was produced to serve as a historical document on how a royal family might have lived during that period in England.
In addition to furniture and other household items built on a scale of 1:12 (one inch to one foot), resulting in a structure more than three feet tall, it contains curious items that actually work, such as a shotgun that can be cocked, loaded, and fired; toilets that flush; and electric lights that illuminate with the flick of a switch. The garage holds six automobiles, including a Daimler and a Rolls-Royce. Perhaps most impressively, it has seven hundred and fifty original works of art.
Remarkably, it has a substantial library of tiny books, each written specifically for the dolls’ house. Among the authors who contributed to the project were Rudyard Kipling (who wrote seven poems and illustrated the book himself ), James M. Barrie, Aldous Huxley, John Buchan, M. R. James (who wrote a ghost story, “The Haunted Dolls’ House”), Thomas Hardy, W. Somerset Maugham, and Arthur Conan Doyle, who produced this charming parody of Holmes and Watson.
The house is on display at Windsor Castle.
“How Watson Learned the Trick” was originally published in The Book of the Queen’s Dolls’ House, two volumes edited by A. C. Benson, Sir Lawrence Weaver, and E. V. Lucas (London, Methuen, 1924); it was limited to fifteen hundred copies.
Watson had been watching his companion intently ever since he had sat down to the breakfast table. Holmes happened to look up and catch his eye.
“Well, Watson, what are you thinking about?” he asked.
“Yes, Holmes. I was thinking how superficial are these tricks of yours, and how wonderful it is that the public should continue to show interest in them.”
“I quite agree,” said Holmes. “In fact, I have a recollection that I have myself made a similar remark.”
“Your methods,” said Watson severely, “are really easily acquired.”
“No doubt,” Holmes answered with a smile. “Perhaps you will yourself give an example of this method of reasoning.”
“With pleasure,” said Watson. “I am able to say that you were greatly preoccupied when you got up this morning.”
“Excellent!” said Holmes. “How could you possibly know that?”
“Because you are usually a very tidy man and yet you have forgotten to shave.”
“Dear me! How very clever!” said Holmes. “I had no idea, Watson, that you were so apt a pupil. Has your eagle eye detected anything more?”
“Yes, Holmes. You have a client named Barlow, and you have not been successful with his case.”
“Dear me, how could you know that?”
“I saw the name outside his envelope. When you opened it you gave a groan and thrust it into your pocket with a frown on your face.”
“Admirable! You are indeed observant. Any other points?”
“I fear, Holmes, that you have taken to financial speculation.”
“How could you tell that, Watson?”
“You opened the paper, turned to the financial page, and gave a loud exclamation of interest.”
“Well, that is very clever of you, Watson. Any more?”
“Yes, Holmes, you have put on your black coat, instead of your dressing gown, which proves that you are expecting some important visitor at once.”
“I have no doubt that I could find other points, Holmes, but I only give you these few, in order to show you that there are other people in the world who can be as clever as you.”
“And some not so clever,” said Holmes. “I admit that they are few, but I am afraid, my dear Watson, that I must count you among them.”
“What do you mean, Holmes?”
“Well, my dear fellow, I fear your deductions have not been so happy as I should have wished.”
“You mean that I was mistaken.”
“Just a little that way, I fear. Let us take the points in their order: I did not shave because I have sent my razor to be sharpened. I put on my coat because I have, worse luck, an early meeting with my dentist. His name is Barlow, and the letter was to confirm the appointment. The cricket page is beside the financial one, and I turned to it to find if Surrey was holding its own against Kent. But go on, Watson, go on! It’s a very superficial trick, and no doubt you will soon acquire it.”
Revue de presse
The question must be asked: Did we need another one? Yes. And Otto Penzler’s Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories is that book. . . . For those who love the cranky inhabitant at 221B, and for those who appreciate good writing about him, and especially for those who can’t get enough of other 'takes' on him.”
—The Seattle Times
“Hours upon hours of entertainment for both new fans and Baker Street Irregulars alike.”
“The perfect gift for the Holmes fan who has everything but the 'Herlock Shomes At It Again' parody written by Anonymous in 1916.”
—The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg)
“A landmark volume. . . . Essential. . . . Easily the largest collection of Sherlockiana tales ever published. It merits celebration on that basis alone, as a bibliographic event of gargantuan proportions. . . . Show[s] the profound effect Holmes and Watson have had on popular culture and on other writers of crime fiction.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“The breadth of this anthology, which spans over a century and includes everything from straight pastiches and parodies to fully developed whodunits, is but one of its virtues. . . . The variety of approaches is an eloquent testament to Conan Doyle’s genius in creating such an iconic character. . . . Perhaps Penzler’s most significant contribution is rescuing from undeserved obscurity talented writers who have captured the Watsonian narrative voice and combined it with brilliant deductions and mesmerizing plots. . . . This volume is a must for all fans of the great detective.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred, boxed review)
“Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 60 stories about Holmes, and more than 6,000 have been penned by other authors since. This collection gathers the best of those stories from Holmes admirers. . . . The pieces are separated into categories, which makes choosing a story more fun for the reader. . . . A must-have for all libraries. This is the only book of its kind to collect so many pastiches dedicated to Holmes, 83 total. Fans of the fictional detective will find great joy in this tome.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
This anthology has stories has stories written by authors as famous as Conan Doyle to stories which appeared once in obscure magazines. It has stories which are parodies and send-ups (these started almost immediately after the first Holmes story was published in 1886). It has stories which try to recreate the exact feel of the original works. It has stories which are more a tip of the hat to Conan Doyle. All of them refer, in one way or another, to one or more of the Sherlock canon hallmarks. So when I read several stories one right after the other, I felt a bit of repetition at the constant mention of the Persian Slipper or Erratic Violin Playing.
But that is a quibble. Because overall, these 82 stories are a lot of fun, both as mysteries and as a continuation of Sherlock Holmes. I do have a special place in my heart for the parodies, though:
Watson visits Holmes: "I found him playing the violin with a look of sweet peace and serenity on his face, which I never noticed on the countenances of those within hearing distance." (by Robert Barr)
Or this one, where a Martian is a great detective: "The rest of the walls were taken up with shelves, the criminological literature of three planets – Martian books, Terrestrial micros, Venusian talking stones. At one place, patriotically, the glyphs representing the reigning Nestmother had been punched out with bullets." (by Poul Anderson)
Otto Penzler, editor, has a nice introduction to each story. They can be as fun to read as the stories themselves. James M. Barrie, of Peter Pan fame, was a friend of Arthur Conan Doyle. I loved his two-page Sherlock Holmes story, and Penzler tells us: "Barrie inscribed a copy of his book, 'A Window in Thrums' (1889), to Conan Doyle, with this little parody written on the flyleaves. Conan Doyle claimed that it was the best parody of Holmes ever written (a generous assessment) and included it in his autobiography."
Otto Penzler is an anthologizer extraordinaire. I've previously enjoyed his Locked Room Mystery collection, The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original)
and am now going to start on his Christmas Mystery collection, The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard).
4.6 stars rounded up to 5.