Book Reviews - Sherlock Holmes - The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Posted by Steve Emecz on

Sherlock Holmes Society of London

"Author David MacGregor, Volume One 354 pp; Volume Two 348 pp, both available in hbk and pbk). The author is a playwright who uses his professional expertise to examine the evolution of Holmes and how he has been portrayed over the years across all media. Volume One covers 1887 to 1937 and Volume Two continues up to the present."



Howard Ostrom (Author of the "Sherlock Holmes Cyclopædia; Holmes on Screens" series.)

“Sherlock Holmes: The Hero With a Thousand Faces” is in a league with "From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon" by Mattias Boström, which was Winner of the Agatha Award for best nonfiction work. As a lifelong Sherlockian and compiler of the “Sherlock Holmes Cyclopædia; Holmes on Screens,” I can attest to how extremely well researched and accurate this work is. I highly recommend it for beginner to advanced Sherlockians.”


The Hero With A Thousand Faces is available now from this site or available from:

Amazon USA        Book Depository (free worldwide shopping)

Amazon UK 

In the early 21st century, Benedict Cumberbatch gave the world the definitive portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in the BBC's "Sherlock."  Then again, Jeremy Brett had been declared the "definitive" Holmes in Granada Television's series in the 1980s.  The same was said of Basil Rathbone's performance in fourteen films before that, and William Gillette's version of Holmes on stage at the turn of the 20th century had also been lauded to the skies.  In short, all four actors were declared to be the "definitive" Holmes, and yet their various interpretations of the greatest character in fiction could not be more different.

Graced with a foreword by Sherlockian guru Roger Johnson, this book sets out to trace the evolution of Sherlock Holmes and his audience across three centuries.  What caused Victorian readers to respond with such fervor to Arthur Conan Doyle's creation?  How did an eccentric American actor from Connecticut become acclaimed as the definitive Holmes on both sides of the Atlantic?  Who were the original fanboys who ushered in the concepts of fandom and cosplay in the 1930s?

Using extensive contemporaneous accounts and reviews, Volume One explores the process by which Sherlock Holmes evolved from being merely a character in detective stories into a genre, industry, and global phenomenon all his own.  

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