This three-volume set is everything a life-long dedicated fan of Sherlock Holmes could ever want, and the perfect introduction for a Baker Street newbie. Here are two volumes of all fifty-six short stories here in the order of their publication and a third volume containing the four novels. Here also is a Sherlock Holmes treasure chest that is chock-full of bonuses and extras: Illuminating bits and pieces from Conan Doyle?s early drafts; essays about all manner of subjects mentioned in the Holmes? stories, from details about the Victorian age to the rules of the obscure form of Japanese martial arts that Holmes practiced to the origins of rugby. There are over eight hundred illustrations, many by Sidney Paget who created the image of Holmes with deerstalker hat, smoking pipe, and magnifying glass that have become his trademarks today. The stories are annotated with detailed and interesting notes about things that, while common enough in the late 19th century, are quite foreign to us today, things like ?spirit cases? (small tables that keeps decanters for drinks locked into place) and ?consumption? (the old-fashioned named for any debilitating, wasting disease. Editor and Sherlockian extraordinaire Leslie S. King also expounds on little mysteries within the stories (like how Sherlock could possibly know which way a bicycle was traveling based on its tracks) and speculates on many of the big mysteries from the canon (like exactly what brother Mycroft?s position is within the British government). Some of these notes relate to issues that Holmesian scholars have been debating for decades; some are simple fun facts. The illustrations are lovely and the book design is superb, making this collection of stories is practically a work of art unto itself. There are dozens of editions and collections of the Sherlock Holmes stories, but for sheer wealth of information, education, and entertainment, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes beats them all.
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