"The most talked about Sherlock Holmes book to date" read a tweet I received today.
The author who sent those words was promoting his book and his Twitter feed was full of such remarks, some identical to that, some close. He's plainly quite proud of his book. But also a little unaware of what I've spent most of my life doing as a hobby.
The most talked about Sherlock Holmes book to date? After decades of hanging around Sherlock Holmes fans, I'm not even sure which one that is. The first one, A Study in Scarlet? The most famous one, The Hound of the Baskervilles? The one where Watson meets his wife, The Sign of the Four?
Well, I'm pretty sure it's not The Valley of Fear, even with the Moriarty reprise.
And what of Nicholas Meyer's The Seven-Per-Cent Solution? The best-selling pastiche of all time, adapted for a major motion picture, raising the bar on Holmes's cocaine usage on a cultural level, and causing the biggest post-Doyle, pre-BBC Sherlock wave of popularity the detective has ever had?
Well, even that book wasn't talked about as much as single stories from the Canon.
With entire evenings and events based on single stories from collections like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, with lectures, papers, and demonstrations based on single facts from those stories, with all the junior high school classes reading "The Speckled Band" and discussing it in class . . . well . . .
After considering matters, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes surely must be the actual most talked about Sherlock Holmes book to date. And as far as recent books go? Well, I haven't even finished The Sherlock Holmes Miscellany by Roger Johnson and Jean Upton to write a blog about it yet, but it seems to be the one actually being talked about in hardcore Sherlockian circles outside of the Canon these days.
AH! But a Google search at the last, for "the most talked about Sherlock Holmes book" reveals the trick answer that actually can't be denied.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes. Yeah, I'll take that.