Published by Pen and Sword History on February 18, 2022
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‘There can be no question, Mr Dear Watson, of the value of exercise before breakfast’ - Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of Black Peter
You may have been introduced to the magic of the greatest of English detectives by reading the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or perhaps watching some of the hundreds of films or TV shows that feature the extraordinary adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr John H. Watson - now, this unique book offers a detailed itinerary for actually ‘walking’ Sherlock Holmes. Beginning, of course, at Baker Street a series of walks takes in the well-known, as well as some of the more obscure, locations of London as travelled by Holmes and Watson and a gallery of unforgettable characters in the stories. Details of each location and the story in which it features are given along with other items of interest - associated literary and historical information, social history, and events in Conan Doyle’s life. A chapter then explores Holmes’ adventures in the rest of the UK. 55 black and white original photographs accompany the text.
This book is designed to appeal to anyone who wishes to gain a deeper understanding of the stories by travelling, even if just in imagination from an armchair, exactly the same London streets as Sherlock Holmes, and perhaps also by exploring some iconic Holmesian locations farther afield. ‘Come, Watson, come!’ Holmes says in The Adventure of the Abbey Grange. ‘The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!’
I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan which is why On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes caught my eye. The author sets out a series of walks around London, incorporating locations that feature in stories from the canon and incidents in Conan Doyle’s life. There are even tidbits about family, friends, and literary contemporaries to Doyle along with the mention of real life individuals and their stories that likely influenced his writing of Sherlock Holmes. It made me want to go to London and follow the walks and suggested side excursions. It also made me want to go back and read some of the stories again and maybe watch some of the adaptations I haven’t seen. The appendices were fun too, giving a chronological timeline of the Conan Doyle stories, notable actors to have played Holmes over the years, and an alphabetical Holmes miscellany. My one complaint is that I wish there were more and better photos. I’d love full color photos of some of the spots mentioned. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed the armchair travel.