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A treat from start to finish. Mattias Boström lays out the entire history of Sherlock Holmes, from the time Conan Doyle first set down a few notes on a sheet of paper through the Sherlock and Elementary TV series and the film Mr Holmes. It's replete with silent films feared lost but rediscovered in an unlikely place, and with podcasts and hashtags. It's a tale of immense creativity, but also a tale of lawsuit after lawsuit, as the Conan Doyle estate asserts full copyright over not just the stories but the characters themselves.
Boström has written a hundred or so short chapters. Typically a chapter will end on a bit of a cliffhanger, with the next chapter veering off into a different direction, and the connections emerging only later. In the process he's created a literary biography of Conan Doyle, a history of the Conan Doyle estate, and a celebration of the many brilliant actors who have taken on the role of Holmes.
I don't know how a real Sherlockian would feel about this. (A Sherlockian is someone who chooses to pretend Holmes was a real person and that the stories are nonfiction.) Boström shows us the man — or more accurately the men and women — behind the curtain. Briskly paced, well-narrated, and highly recommended. I look forward to listening to it again.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Fascinating, well researched, history of the origin and development of the characters and stories. But more than I wanted to know about the author’s spendthrift, squabbling heirs and their machinations to milk their father’s work while apparently doing little to make their own livings. Read in a sing-song cadence that became very difficult to listen to as the subject matter devolved into details that obscured the points ultimately made. The narrator’s voice pitched up and paused like a pendulum, irrespective of the meaning and contents of the sentences. If you want to get to the point, listen to the chapters up to Doyle’s interest in mysticism then the last few as Sherlock emerges as a modern character.