The Devil and Sherlock Holmes

Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession

Grann, David

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Devil and Sherlock Holmes
Whether he's reporting on the infiltration of the murderous Aryan Brotherhood into the U.S. prison system, tracking down a con artist in Europe, or riding with a scientist hunting the elusive giant squid, David Grann revels in telling stories that explore the nature of obsession. Each of the stories in this collection reveals a hidden and often dangerous world, pivoting around the gravitational pull of obsession and the captivating personalities of those caught in its grip. There is the world's foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes, found dead in mysterious circumstances; an arson sleuth trying to prove that a man about to be executed is innocent; and sandhogs racing to complete the dangerous job of building New York City's water tunnels before the old system collapses. Throughout, Grann's accounts display the power--and often the willful perversity--of the human spirit, a mosaic of ambition, madness, passion, and folly.--From publisher description. Collection of the journalist's articles previously published in varous periodicals.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0385517920
Branch Call Number: 081 G759d 2010
Characteristics: xi, 338 p. ;,25 cm


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May 05, 2011
  • corybant rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Each short story takes on a life of as it own as the people become obsessed with something in their lives or trapped by it. I will admit that I felt the first story was a bit slow, but the stories evolve even though the characters are propelled not by choice but compulsion.

It is an incredible compilation of true stories on subjects like Sherlock Holmes, fire forensics, architeuthis, and 9/11.

I listened to this as an audiobook on long car trips back and forth between Canada. It is perfect for listening to.

May 03, 2010
  • DanniOcean rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

reviewed in Stratford Gazette May, 2010


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May 03, 2010
  • DanniOcean rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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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