Monday, January 27, 2014

"The Reappearance of Sherlock Holmes"

By Arthur Conan Doyle.
George Newnes.
1902. 359 pages.
First serialized in The Strand, August 1901-April 1902.
You can't kill a legend; just ask Conan Doyle:
Some years ago when Dr. Conan Doyle, weary of the demands upon his time and inventions made by the popularity of Sherlock Holmes, sent his hero on a wild goose flight across the Continent, and finally tumbled him from a narrow ledge of an Alpine pass into a mysterious nothingness and obscurity below, it will be remembered that Dr. Doyle made a point of the fact that the body of neither Holmes nor Professor Moriarty was ever found. This detail made it possible for the author, if he so wished, to explain later that Holmes, after rolling off the ledge, was caught by a clump of trees twenty or thirty feet below, that fearing pursuit from some other members of the Moriarty gang, he allowed the report of his death to go unchallenged, hid himself for a few years under another name in some remote corner of the world, and finally went back to London to score greater triumphs in the interest of truth and justice and Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle.
This inference, however, was strenuously opposed by Dr. Doyle at the time. He was through with Sherlock Holmes, he said, utterly weary of the strain involved in finding new complications to be explained by the science of deduction; and the only way in which the admirers of the great detective could be curbed in their insatiable appetite was by bringing the character to an untimely end.
Dr. Doyle's most vehement assertions, however, could hardly be taken without a slight grain of suspicion. Had he produced the mangled corpse, eliminating all possibility of false identity, it would have been another matter. But so long as there existed a convenient loophole, the resuscitation of Sherlock Holmes was only a matter of time.
The time has come. Sherlock Holmes is to make his reappearance in the September number of the StrandIn conjunction with Mr. Fletcher Robinson, an English newspaper man, Dr. Doyle has been building up a new series of adventures for his detective. These adventures will be presented not in the form of short stories, but as a novel which we believe is to be about fifty thousand words in length. This, we should say, is somewhat longer than the Study in Scarlet, which first introduced Holmes and his historian, Dr. Watson, and perhaps about the same length as The Sign of the Four.
There is no reference whatever made to the detective's death, it being assumed simply that one of his earlier experiences is being described.
All through The Adventures and The Memoirs there are allusions to affairs of which the reader knows nothing, and if the author can clear away the mystery of all the titles, such as "The Adventure of the Tired Captain," "The Adventure of the Third Window," and "The Adventure of the Green Sapphire," he will have plenty to do for many months to come. — "The Reappearance of Sherlock Holmes," THE BOOKMAN (July 1901)
- "Resurrecting Holmes," a previous ONTOS article HERE.

Category: Detective fiction

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