The EdinburghrnBruternby Theodore Pappasrn’The whole Sherloek Holmes saga is a triumphant illustration ofrnart’s supremacy over life.”rn—Christopher MorleyrnThe Oxford Sherlock Holmes:rnA Study in ScarletrnThe Sign of the FourrnThe Adventures of Sherlock HolmesrnThe Memoirs of Sherlock HolmesrnThe Hound of the BaskervillesrnThe Return of Sherlock HolmesrnThe Valley of FearrnHis Last BowrnThe Case-Book of Sherlock HolmesrnGeneral Editor, Owen Dudley EdwardsrnOxford: Oxford University Press;rn$99.95rnIt was the spring of 1893, and ArthurrnConan Doyle was plotting murder. “Irnam in the middle of the last Holmes story,”rnDoyle wrote to his mother, “afterrnwhich the gentleman vanishes, never tornreturn. 1 am weary of his name.” Sixrnyears earlier, Doyle was an unknownrnyoung doctor in Southsea struggling tornmake ends meet. lie had created SherlockrnI lolmcs to while away the time, tornearn a bit of money, and to hone his writingrnskills for more “serious” literature,rnmeaning historical fiction written in thernfashion of Iris idol. Sir Walter Scott. Twornnocllas, 24 short stories, and six yearsrnlater, Doyle is famous, and toward thernbeak-nosed, hawk-faced, thinking nrachincrnthat had brought him riches andrninternational acclaim, he can feel onlyrndisgust. “1 feel towards him as I do towardsrnpate de foie gras, of which 1 oncernate too much, so that the name of it givesrnme a sickly feeling to this day.”rnThis cavalier dismissal of one of thernmost enduring characters in modern fictionrndid not wash well with the Englishreadingrnpublic. For if “the spectators arernalways in their senses, and know, fromrnthe first act to the last, that the stage isrnTheodore Pappas is the managing editorrnof Chronicles.rnonly a stage, and that the players are onlyrnplayers,” as Samuel Johnson arguedrnabout the work of Shakespeare, the veryrnopposite was true regarding SherlockrnHolmes and his audience. “He becamerna part of my life,” confessed Max Beerbohm,rn”and will irever, 1 suppose, be utterlyrndislodged.” “The Sign of Four . . . 1rnread first at the age of ten,” said GrahamrnGreene, and it “has neyer faded fromrnmy memory.” For when “yve talk ofrnI Holmes],” explained T.S. Eliot, “we invariablyrnfall into the fancy of his existence.”rnNor has this “fancy” ever waned.rnThousands of Holmesian societies existrnworldwide, the Far East included; andrnthe Abbey National bank, which currentlyrnoccupies Holmes’s famous address,rnhas reportedly hired a secretary just tornhandle the thousands of letters the characterrnreceives each year.rnPerhaps channelsurfers and cybersexersrnwill find it hard to understand how arnliterary figure could be so keenly imaginedrnand deftly drayvn that he virtuallyrntakes on a flesh-and-blood reality. Addictedrnto the visual image and unmovedrnby the written word, they can hardly conceivernof the pandemonium that ensuedrnwhen the Christmas 1893 issue of thernStrand hit the newsstands announcingrnthe sleuth’s final adventure and demise.rnWomen appeared in public wearingrnmourning apparel arrd men wore blackrnbands around their arms and hats; officesrnclosed, flags flew at half-mast, and newspapersrnran obituaries for the man whornnever lived; the Prince of Wales was unhappyrnand the Queen “not amused”;rnsome 20,000 of the Strand’s readers immediatelyrncanceled their subscriptions;rnand tens of thousands more sent Doylernangry letters and telegrams. The curtrnmessage of one reader seemingly spokernfor the entire Eirglish-speaking world:rn”You brute!”rnOwen Dudley Edwards, a professor ofrnhistory at the University of Edinburgh,rnhas spent a lifetime studying this Edinburgh-rnborn “brute.” As general editor ofrnthis collection, he has assembled thernforemost scholars on Holmes, composedrnthe general preface to the collection, andrnwritten introductions to three of the volumes,rnA Study in Scarlet, The Valley ofrnFear, and His East Bow. Fortunately, hisrnfine general introduction is reproducedrnin each volume, along with a detailedrnchronology of Doyle’s life, a bibliographyrnof his work (non-Holmes stories included),rnand a short essay on the principalrnstudies of Doyle’s career, so that eachrnvolume can stand alone as a completernNOVEMBER 1995/35rnrnrn