Ya never know what it's gonna bring.
I mean, ya might get a new Sherlock Holmes book.
Or ya might get the new The Sherlock Holmes Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained.
Or, to simply explain that title, "Sherlock Holmes for Dummies," but not that, as that title has already been used in a series of books. (Really, if Sherlock Holmes is a "big idea" that you need explained in simple terms, you should probably just avoid him altogether.)
The Sherlock Holmes Book is a beautiful textbook. I saw it in the store, mentioned it to a particular Christmas shopper, and received it happily as a lovely gift. Now that I'm getting the chance to dig into it, however, I'm starting to wonder what its purpose is. If you're unfamiliar enough with Sherlock Holmes and his stories that you need the synopses given, you should probably just read the stories themselves first. I remember always feeling the same thing about The Sherlock Holmes Companion by Michael and Mollie Hardwick, with a goodly share of its contents devoted to summaries of the sixty Sherlock Holmes stories. I bought it, I have it on my shelf, but I never use the darn thing for anything. But as a product, it was a success, I guess. I did buy it, which is what publishers generally publish books for . . . to be bought.
As compendiums of Holmes data go, books like The Sherlock Holmes Book are more for the newbie (which we have plenty of at the moment) and not for the old-timer who has seen most of the data it compiles before. The curse of growing old in a hobby is that feeling that, as Holmes once said, "There is nothing new under the sun." Still, it will be fun paging randomly through this book over the next few weeks and see if there's anything that has slipped by me over the years that needs to be looked into further beyond being "simply explained."
And, while I enjoyed finding The Sherlock Holmes Book under my tree, there was something in my stocking I have found myself even more attached to . . . quite literally. Not many gifts are as transformative as this particular Sherlockian set, and as a result, I'd like you to meet Sherlock and Watson.
Sherlock is, of course, a straight left, good for use against slogging ruffians. Watson, as always, is a good right hand. I didn't know that my upper extremities had names before today, but once tagged, they seem to have taken to answering to "Watson" and "Sherlock." Not being a fan of tattoos, I think the nameplates shall do quite nicely.
To me, this shall always be the Christmas that Sherlock and Watson came calling. I hope you were as happily surprised.