I don't exactly recall how old I was when I started reading the Sherlock Holmes stories, but it was when I was 10 or 11 years old. It started with a paperback anthology of probably twenty or so of the most popular Holmes stories, given to me by my great aunt Evelyn. As I recall, I was particularly impressed by "The Adventure of the Dancing Men." In talking with my Grandpa Schwanke, I came to find out that Arthur Conan Doyle had written 56 stories and 4 novels. A year or so after I read that first paperback collection, my parents got me an illustrated collection of the Holmes stories that had been illustrated by Sidney Paget, which included Adventures, Memoirs, and Return of Sherlock Holmes, as well as The Hound of the Baskervilles. Now I was getting closer to having all of the original stories! Grandpa, though, had a hardback copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes (shown to the left). Oh, how I coveted that book! I saved up allowance money for months, until I had enough put together to order the book from our local bookstore in town. I remember being tremendously excited when I finally added that book to my collection...I was finally able to read the stories and novels all the way through, beginning with the marvelous A Study in Scarlet, all the way to the final story in the Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman."
Since those early days of collecting Sherlock Holmes in print, I've added a few volumes to my collection.:
As handy as it is to have the complete Holmes on my Kindle, nothing compares to browsing through these printed volumes, especially the annotated editions. But I also love looking at the editions with the illustrations from the Strand Magazine, because it transports me to a time when these stories were brand new, when the world was a different place.
I'm a stay-at-home dad, and Director of Music Ministries at a United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, TN. And a longtime fan of Sherlock Holmes.