"I prefer to read about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson – both those pitifully few 60 Canonical tales that came across the First Literary Agent’s desk, and all of those other later ones. I believe that the stories – both Canonical and those referred to as “pastiche” – are two very important legs of the Sherlockian stool. But the third, one that is beloved by many, is scholarship, that deep dive into an evaluation of the other parts of The World of Holmes beyond the action – the search for deeper meanings or themes, or investigations into various speculative aspects, such as dates, or religious beliefs, or questions of where wounds were located or how many times that Watson was married.
Many have written essays about these topics, usually published in journals or the occasional collected volume. Only a few have set out to examine The Canon as a whole. The most famous of these so far has been Martin Dakin’s “A Sherlock Holmes Commentary” (1972). And yet, Dakin has some curious ideas, and it seems at times as if he doesn’t really even like The Canon.
Now I’m very happy that Sheldon Goldfarb has created a new Canonical examination for the current generation. It’s a very interesting book, taking each story in order, and with Mr. Goldfarb’s musings, explanations, and commentary laid out naturally, with thoughts that would naturally occur to the reader while exploring the story.
This is a really amazing and well-researched book, and a must-have for Sherlockian fans – especially the scholars. (And I see that Dr. Goldfarb is also a mystery writer, so I hope that his next project will be to retrieve a story from Watson’s Tin Dispatch Box. When he does, and I encourage this, I hope to hear from him . . . .)"
David Marcum, Sherlockian Editor and Author
Sherlockian Musings: Thoughts on the Sherlock Holmes Stories is available from: