The Devil and Sherlock Holmes
Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession
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As Sherlock Holmes said, “life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.” In other words, truth is stranger than fiction, and no one knows this better than the man who has made a career of tracking down solutions of unsolved crimes. Author David Grann, staff writer for The New Yorker, has updated and compiled a number of his most compelling true crime columns that have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic and the New Republic. He starts with the pick of the bunch: the world’s foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes is found garroted in his home. He had been close to finding the elusive Conan Doyle lost archive, a set of papers that was said to be cursed, and even though it is a difficult way to commit suicide, for some reason the police are reluctant to call it murder. Then there are mysterious stories about the mob, famous baseball players, sea monsters, a human chameleon with Peter Pan syndrome, plus half a dozen more. Each chapter or story begins in the present and travels back through time to fill in historical details – clues, if you will – then back to the present again in an easily read conversation of plot and human drama. One can imagine the author’s version of a case board, as his stories unfold and he rearranges the people and events of each mystery. Some mysteries are solved, and for others the solutions remain tantalizingly elusive, but each will grab your imagination, or make you shake your head in wonder, or perhaps leave you itching to play detective yourself. If mysteries are your bag but you like them with more bite, then The Devil and Sherlock Holmes is your summer-reading book.
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