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The Great Detective: The Amazing Rise and…

The Great Detective: The Amazing Rise and Immortal Life of Sherlock Holmes

by Zach Dundas

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At times this book is an interesting romp through the history of a very famous character and his creator. Then gets a little slow. Dundas does a good job tracking Holmes through Conan Doyle's life but he does not write about some things I think should be in there. Like why Conan Doyle killed Holmes. He killed Holmes because he wanted to write respectable histories like a serious writer. Conan Doyle would hate that most people do not even know that he wrote anything else other than Sherlock Holmes. Dundas does not do a bad job, he just did not write about things that I thought needed to be in there and he makes a very bad call about Steven Moffat. Dundas claims that Moffat is one who give new life into Doctor Who but that is just not the case. That was Russell T. Davies. I admit I gave this book Four stars because of that. Not bad but it could have been better.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. ( )
  lrainey | May 4, 2016 |
Anyone remotely interested in Sherlock Holmes should read this book, I highly recommend it. It does a great job of overviewing the "life" of Holmes - in magazines, books, comics, plays, movies, television, societies and whatever else. It's amazing how Holmes is still alive and well. Dundas reveals many of the Holmes connections (e.g. Alfred from Batman played Holmes on television - it's on youtube).

Ok, it's an excellent book about Holmes. However, I found it to be a choppy read as it was very haphazard and scattered about. Also, the author approached being obsessed with Benedict Cumberbatch. Next to Holmes, Watson and Doyle, I think that Cumberbatch get the most print. His description of seeing Cumberbatch in a crowd of civilians (his word) is "like finding a baby black panther at your local humane society". The simile is a bit much. I agree that Cumberbatch does a good job uniquely portraying Holmes in the Sherlock series. I also agree that the series is unique, creative and fresh breath of Holmes. However, he's not the next Messiah (neither was Gillette, Rathbone, Howard or Brett). He is merely portraying Holmes - popular today given our standards and minimized attention span.

Dundas becomes a bit to political for me (and likely Holmes) near the close of the book. I agree with his assessment that Holmes would dislike the "anti-Sherlockian thinking" prevalent today. Looking at a more rudimentary example, say weather forecasting - it's interesting that experts come up with nearly opposite predictions for the same scenario. I also wonder what Holmes would think of mathematical modeling and the conclusions that are eagerly accepted even after the models have been disproven. Cause, effect and co-incidence are often difficult to pin down, but "fact-twisting theory" is a game played by both sides.

Finally, four pages of acknowledgements are a bit too much. I was surprised not to see a third grade teacher or a distant relative of Doyle (he actually included standing near Benedict Cumberbatch).

I write this not to discourage you from reading the book - by all means I encourage you to read it for yourself. Make your own determinations - In any case I guarantee you will get something out of it. I have a list of things to investigate - Long Live Sherlock Holmes! ( )
  MathMaverick | Aug 18, 2015 |
As a fan of Sherlock Holmes I was very interested in reading this book. It has been a while since I have read a Sherlock book. After reading this book I am revived to read some Sherlock stories. However I have to say that Mr. Dundas is a bigger fan of Mr. Holmes and Mr. Doyle. He really did his research. He thoroughly seeked out other fans in all aspects of the world and genres. Mr. Dundas inspected different stories of Mr. Holmes and how they are relatable today's world. Yet, Mr. Dundas writes with passion and readability. Another thing that I liked about this book is travelling all over the world with Mr. Dundas as he explored Mr. Holmes with fans and the foot notes. I always find the foot notes to share interesting tidbits of facts. They are almost better then the book itself. There is nothing boring about this book. True fans of the Sherlock Holmes stories will enjoy this book. ( )
  Cherylk | Apr 22, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0544214048, Hardcover)

For longtime Conan Doyle fans as well as readers just discovering Sherlock Holmes, a wickedly smart and rollicking journey through the birth, life, and afterlives of popular culture’s most beloved sleuth

Today he is the inspiration for fiction adaptations, blockbuster movies, hit television shows, raucous Twitter feeds, and a thriving subculture. Over a century after Sherlock Holmes first capered into our world, what is it about Arthur Conan Doyle’s peculiar creation that continues to fascinate us? Journalist and lifelong Sherlock fan Zach Dundas set out to find the answer. Through sparkling new readings of the original stories, Dundas explores Conan Doyle’s fictional and real-world inspirations and reveals how the Holmes tales laid the groundwork for an infinitely remixable myth, kept alive over the decades by writers, actors, and readers. Dundas’s investigation leads him—like a Bill Bryson of Baker Street—on travels into the heart of the Holmesian universe. He infiltrates fan conventions, nearly freezes on a heath out of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and talks to the creators and star of the BBC’s Sherlock. Along the way, he discovers and celebrates the ingredients that have made Holmes go viral—then, now, and as long as the game’s afoot.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:15:54 -0400)

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