On a Holmesian Find

One of the rarest of all Sherlock Holmes books — and one of the most-sought-after — is Ellery Queen’s The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes.

This anthology, published in 1944, collected Holmesian writings that had been published over the previous decades, with stories by Bret Harte, Mark Twain, John Kendrick Bangs, and many others. Some were parodies, some were satires, some were genuine pastiches.

The Doyle estate had the book suppressed and, naturally, The Misadventures fell out of print.

It puzzles me that, in the past decade or so, that no publisher has come forward to reprint Misadventures. A facsimile edition of the original Little Brown edition would be fascinating and of interest to Holmes scholars. With so much of Holmes now public domain, working out a deal with the Doyle estate shouldn’t be much of an issue. And many of the pieces in Misadventures have either been reprinted elsewhere or fallen into the public domain themselves, so I can’t imagine that working out deals for each story would present great difficulties.

Maybe I’ll add this to my list of lottery plans — start a small press and bring The Misadventures back into print. :holmes:

About fifteen years ago, give or take, I was in Charlottesville, Virginia and I bought a book entitled The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes. This was not the Ellery Queen anthology. This one was a book edited by Sebastian Wolfe. I couldn’t tell you today what was in the book. There may have been a Solar Pons story. I’m pretty sure that Philip Jose Farmer’s “The Adventure of the Three Madmen” was in it. (This was Farmer’s Jungle Book crossover, which had previously been his Tarzan crossover.)

It’s a rare book, this Ellery Queen anthology. I’ve held a copy of the book — Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia has it in their library. I’ve wanted a copy of my own, though, and every so often I’ll punch the works “Misadventures Sherlock Holmes” into eBay to see what comes up.

Today, something came up. And it was only $19.99!

That couldn’t be right, surely? The book usually goes for a hundred dollars or more.

Alas, it was just a poster of the cover. Like here.

I’m tempted to buy that poster, by the way. Add it to my stairwell gallery.

eBay did have a few copies of the Queen book. None in my price range.

Then I did some random Google searching.

And I found something else.

I found the complete text of the book.

I’ll download the PDF later. I snagged the plain text file, and I’ve been skimming through it. It’s barely readable; it’s obvious that the pages were scanned and then subjected to an OCR, which produced strange words and poor formatting.

I don’t consider my search for The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes at an end by any means. Someday, I’ll add this book to my library.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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