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Carol the Dabbler

from BBC Books: The Essential Conan Doyle Adventures

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Here's the very thing for those of you who would like to read some of Conan Doyle's original stories, but aren't sure where to start.

 

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It's a collection of 19 favorites from Moffat and Gatiss, with introductions explaining why they consider each of these stories to be particularly important.  To be released on November 12th, now available for pre-order from Amazon (UK) in either hardcover or Kindle (though the latter doesn't seem to apply in the US).

 

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Here are the stories included in the book:

A Study In Scarlet
The Sign of Four
A Scandal in Bohemia **
The Red-Headed League **
A Case of Identity
The Man with the Twisted Lip *
The Blue Carbuncle
The Speckled Band **
Silver Blaze *
The Yellow Face
The Musgrave Ritual **
The Greek Interpreter *
The Final Problem **
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Empty House **
Charles Augustus Milverton
The Bruce-Partington Plans *
The Devil’s Foot **
The Dying Detective
 

I was curious to see how the Moftiss list compares to Conan Doyle's own list.  I have marked stories from Conan Doyle's "12" (actually 14) favorites with ** above, and those from his 8 runner-ups with single asterisks.  (See this thread for his entire list.)  The lists overlap about halfway.

 

Note: Conan Doyle's list includes only short stories, so I have no idea whether he considered Study in Scarlet, Sign of (the) Four or Hound of the Baskervilles to be favorites or not.  And come to think of it, I find it odd that Moftiss included three of the four novels but not Valley of Fear.

 

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To be released on November 12th, now available for pre-order from Amazon UK in either hardcover or Kindle (though the latter doesn't seem to apply in the US).

The hardcover is also available for pre-order from Amazon US, though the release date isn't until December 22nd -- so if you want it for a Christmas present, you might want to order it (right away!) from the UK.  In fact, it's sufficiently cheaper at Amazon UK that even with paying overseas shipping, you should come out ahead.  (Current exchange rate of 1.52 x 15 GBP price = $22.80, versus $35 at Amazon US.)

 

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Thank you, Carol, both for your effort and for the helpful notes! The Valley of Fear may form part of the Special, not that they haven't already used bits and pieces of the others in their episodes already! I must say I'm bit puzzled by the inclusion of The Yellow face; perhaps because Holmes himself considers it a failure?

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Could be.  It's been a while since I read "The Yellow Face," but I do recall it as being somewhat different from most Holmes stories, which might also be a reason.  Alas, there's currently no "Look Inside" feature on those Amazon pages, so if we want to see what the Moftisses actually say about the story, I guess we'll just have to buy the book!

 

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No way, no how! I would never abandon my Chancellor Press collection of all 56 Sherlock Holmes stories just to read what the creators of the series have to say concerning their idiosyncratic choices, leaving out The Illustrious Client, The Second Stain, The Abbey Grange, The Sussex Vampire and The Norwood Builder in favour of the frankly mediocre novels! G.K. Chesterton and E.W. Hornung both made pithy comments on the four novels, absolutely delightful to peruse!

What Holmes says right at the end of The Yellow Face sums up his failure: "Watson, if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little over-confident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper 'Norbury' (where the investigation took place) in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you."

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No way, no how! I would never abandon my Chancellor Press collection of all 56 Sherlock Holmes stories....

 

One is allowed to own more than one collection of Holmes stories, you know.  ;)

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Thanks, dear Carol, looks interesting, and I would like to find out the reasoning behind their choices, especially since they have left out stories they have quoted from, like The Blanched Soldier and The Priory School. I do hope their comments are not things already said in interviews and panels, however! And it's interesting to note that they have included all three Mycroft stories!

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Thought some of you might like to see these blurbs that have been used to promote the book.
 

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#‎ESSENTIALSHERLOCK‬
Arriving November 12 2015.
Pre-order Hardcover: http://amzn.to/1XPfa86
Pre-order Kindle: http://amzn.to/1McdjTt
View the full article

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I assume Sherlockology is going to treat us to one of those brief "reviews" per day till the 12th.  So far they've hit Study, "Bruce-Partington," Hound, and "Scandal."  Don't suppose there's any hope they'll include "The Yellow Face" in the buildup?

 

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I haven't seen any for a couple days, I think. (Maybe they take the weekends off? :smile: )

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... and another:

 

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Only three more days till the British release on the 12th!

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It's definitely in my wish list at Amazon.fr but I shall have a longer wait than the rest of you, apparently, since it won't be released until the end of the month, not in three-days' time!

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The 12th is just the UK release date -- here in the US it's December 22nd.

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Another tidbit from Sherlockology:

 

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Just two more days till the British release date.

 

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And presumably the next-to-last bit:

 

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... what with the book's UK release scheduled for tomorrow.

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Dear Carol, please excuse the following gloating, gleeful childish reaction! Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah nah, nah! *Apache victory dance to follow* :smile:

I'm the proud owner of a 560-page iBook, costing 15 euros, and although I have the collected stories, I can't wait to read the whys and heretofores of the two creators' truly idiosyncratic choice! Needless to say, I shall, as always skip the American bits in the novels, and the truly boring bits in Hound. I was brought up in the English language on them, Shakespeare and Erle Stanley Gardner! Expect vituperation on :evilmoff: after I finish it! Fair warning, dear fellow members!

Owners of Kindle devices and android ones could also have a look-see. Why bother with ordering, biting your nails to the quick waiting for the postman to arrive, when you can download the flipping stuff?

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Inge, sorry to say this, but we have been suckered by publicity! I spent a lot to have the book delivered next day! Serves me right to discover that the two con artists didn't bother with more than a single paragraph introducing each of their favorites! I extremely dislike being taken for a ride, such as this! May return the book and ask for a refund! If they cannot be a***** to write a proper introduction to each story, I refuse to be taken in by such transparent marketing ploys!

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...][ the two con artists didn't bother with more than a single paragraph introducing each of their favorites! I extremely dislike being taken for a ride, such as this! May return the book and ask for a refund![....]

 

Must say I can't blame you for being disappointed, jadpdr!  The BBC reprint series (which I have) runs around 3 pages of introduction per 300 pages of Conan Doyle, which may be roughly the same ratio -- but those are simply reprints of the original volumes, so there's no need for anyone to explain why the stories were chosen, and besides, each of the novels gets its own multi-page intro.

 

Could you share one of the introductions in full?  I am curious to see whether they amount to much more than what Sherlockology has already revealed, so perhaps you could reproduce the intro to one of those eight stories.  (We can think of this as part of your review, and brief quotes are considered fair use for such purposes, so no copyright infringement would be involved.)

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Here goes: Introduction to A Study in Scarlet: "The first adventure and still one of the best. Our heroes meet. 'You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive'. Corpse thrashing! Mormons! Revenge! It must have landed like a rocket into (sic) Victorian fiction. -Mark and Steven" "Into?" Really? What do they take Victorian fiction for? A bowl of porridge or a cup of tea?

No wonder the Sherlock caricature in the Special speaks such ungrammatical English! J.P., I would like those pins to stick into :evilmoff: now, if you would be so kind!

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Here's the one from the Sign of the Four: "A wonderfully lurid tale with some of the best deductions, a loyal but deadly midget, a wooden-legged man and the seven-per-cent solution. Hard to beat! -Mark and Steven"

And from A Case of Identity: " A charming, rather sad story that's hardly ever adapted, largely because it only really works on the page. But it contains many small gems, which we've used in Sherlock. -Mark and Steven "

The Sherlock Holmes Society should vote to rescind Mr Gatiss's membership on the strength of the 'largely...' sentence, bringing the language into disrepute with the double intensifiers!

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Thank you both.  Those are barely even paragraphs!

 

In defense of the Moftiss grammar, however, I must say that I see nothing wrong with either usage.  If I imagine a rocket soaring up and then crashing down into Victorian society, the preposition sounds fine to me.  And "largely" in the second example is not an intensifier; it means means something like "primarily."

 

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*sigh* "largely, really only" in one sentence seem redundant at best! What I'm most upset about is that not a single "introduction" explains their reasoning behind their idiosyncratic choices, except bits and pieces and lots of exclamation marks! I have been had, I fervently hope that the rest of the forum members don't fall for this blatant marketing ploy!

Here's the one from Scandal: "The story that turned Sherlock Holmes into a phenomenon. Actually, quite a gentle, virtually crime-less tale but...'the woman' -Mark and Steven"

No explanation as to their own categorisation, nothing, nada, niente, NICHTS!

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*sigh* "largely, really only" in one sentence seem redundant at best.

If those three words had been in a row, I would agree.  But what you quoted was this: "...hardly ever adapted, largely because it only really works on the page."  In that context, "largely" means that what follows is the primary (though not only) reason that it's hardly ever adapted.  Then "really works" means it works in actuality rather than just in theory.  The "really" could be seen as redundant (with "largely"), but could also be seen as an intensifier for "really."

 

I'm guessing that you're judging that passage as written English, whereas it's actually conversational English written down, and taken as such, it sounds perfectly normal (if not terribly pedantic) to me.  It's simply the way well-educated native English speakers talk when they're not being graded.

 

What I'm most upset about is that not a single "introduction" explains their reasoning behind their idiosyncratic choices, except bits and pieces and lots of exclamation marks! [....] No explanation as to their own categorisation, nothing, nada, niente, NICHTS!

That would have upset me as well.  Lucky thing that I read your review before buying the book!

 

It occurs to me, however, that we are judging the book on somewhat unfair criteria.  The title is not "Reviews of Conan Doyle," but rather The Essential Arthur Conan Doyle Adventures.   So even though Moftiss have failed to explain their choices to our satisfaction, they have presumably done their honest best to select the stories they feel are most important to an understanding of the canon.  (Other people's choices would of course differ somewhat, but that's true of any such collection.)  So for anyone who's wondering where to start, the book should be an excellent introduction to the original Holmes stories -- with a fine picture on the cover.

 

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