Friday, November 4, 2016

About Sixty . . . or about one?

About Sixty: Why Every Sherlock Holmes Story Is The Best arrived in the mail a few weeks back, and I immediately did what I do with any collection that I have some little piece in . . . flip to my own bit and read that. It's what a writer has to do, like pinching yourself to make sure you're awake. You've got to make sure the whole "getting published" thing was real.

Then I went back and read editor Christopher Redmond's introduction, just to see how he set it up.

A few days later, I think I did go back and read one friend's essay, just out of curiosity, but time was dear that week, so I set it back on the "to read" pile. Where it stayed until tonight, when a little friendly back-and-forth on Twitter about which story is truly was the best made me wonder: Just who was the most convincing salesperson of all the About Sixty writers?

Yes, yes, About Sixty was not a competition. Growing up in a house with three siblings, however, about anything can be a competition to me if I let it. And the basic premise of this collection was sixty writers each writing that a particular Sherlock Holmes story is the best, so one can hardly blame me if I decided to take it that way. And what better way to review a collection of essays than to make it a competition? (But, really, we're all winners, my fellow About Sixty writers, aren't we? There, now that I've been token nice for a second on to the jugular!)

So this weekend, I'm going to read . . . and blog . . . About Sixty and see just who sells me on their tale. I'm a strong favorite of course, because I most alway agree with me, but you never know. And I think I may have already changed my mind.

I read the first essay before starting this post, Susan Smith-Josephy writing on A Study in Scarlet. And A Study in Scarlet does seem like it could very well be the best Sherlock Holmes story. It's the origin story, and I do love an origin story. Reading Susan's piece reminded me of just how much I've always loved A Study in Scarlet, and even though she makes a good case for the no-Sherlock parts of the novel, Holmes and Watson's first weeks and months together are definitely what carry that tale to the top of the heap.

Well, the top of the heap, for now . . .  I've got fifty-nine more essays to read this weekend, as we find out if About Sixty is really about sixty accounts of our friend Sherlock Holmes or just one . . . the best one.

Let the games begin! (Afoot! Oh, yeah, afoot! The game is . . . awww, on to it!)

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