The London of Sherlock Holmes - Over 400 Computer Generated Street Level Photos by Thomas Bruce Wheeler
|The London of Sherlock Holmes - Over 400 Computer Generated Street Level Photos by Thomas Bruce Wheeler|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Sherlock Holmes never needed an iPad. You could well do with one to get the best out of this volume.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 400||Date: October 2011|
|Publisher: MX Publishing|
Should I trust a book that has a typo on the FRONT cover? Would I purchase a book that practically says, as its first words, the e-book version is better than this paper thing? This, despite setting up very much the wrong impression, is a gateway into the world of Sherlock Holmes - but does, as I say, blatantly show itself up as flawed, while the electronic version could count as a very worthwhile app for the Conan Doyle buff.
Mr Wheeler has gone through every original Sherlock Holmes story, and set them out in date order of their events, where possible. For each he has provided some form of precis, and itemised every London location. Whether they start in the wilds of the home counties, or at 221B, anything major or minor that exists, and some that don't any more, gets its GPS grid references, for you to type in to google earth and see the modern street view equivalent of what Holmes and Watson were passing by. The entire gamut is here, from the schools Watson studied medicine in, to the train termini they needed to use, to all the various locations mentioned, for instance in the prolonged wild goose chase of 'The Blue Carbuncle'.
Beyond this the volume repeats the exercise, dropping the plot summaries, so one can pop out of any and all relevant underground stops and see what's what and where's where. It shows itself up when Brixton in general is accessed from three tube stations, but you take your pick I guess. You can also follow the footsteps of Toby the dog in The Sign of Four, in a handful of unusual walking tours, and Wheeler finishes with a concordance of a kind of all the characters he picks out from the plots.
For the burgeoning Holmesian we can actually learn a lot from wading through this book. ACD used little disguises in things, renaming Dover Terrace after Torquay, for instance. It's interesting to note where 221B has moved to and from in its life - at the time of writing the stories the address didn't exist in the real world, but we can work out number 31 was the building Conan Doyle was using as a basis for it. Bring on a real 221 and the Abbey Building Society, as is well known, got a flood of post addressed to Holmes, which now goes to the museum a few doors down, while a mock-up of Holmes' lodgings has also moved over the past few generations.
But as far as walking up and down the streets of our capital go, it's not with this in hand that you should be doing it. Not understanding much about these things, I'm promised the e-book version lets one click on it, and instantly produce the pictures so lacking from this paper version, despite its subtitle. I can't assume it's a complete all-in-one app (where plugging yourself into the grid, it'll tell you what's nearby to go and see) but the fully formatted electronic edition of this title seems well worth considering.
It would avoid the other problems with this, namely the bizarre use of three fonts where one would do, and the lack of index, and the scroll option would let you bypass the fact that Wheeler has an inordinate ability to make the summary of every story quite unappealing. I can't pretend this is a brilliant book for the scholar or the virgin enthusiast, but I'm quite sure, there is still a worthwhile purchase here for some.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Please accept my star rating is for this paperback format, as read. But please add a star for my guesstimate of how much more useful the e-book is.
The other end of our country features in many fewer Holmes stories, but there's still a need for Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes and Devon: A Complete Tour Guide and Companion by Brian W Pugh, Paul R Spiring and Sadru Bhanji on certain reference shelves.
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The author said:
If you want to preview the eBook, go to Amazon.com. Their “look inside” capability allows you to try the hyperlinks.