Starring Sherlock Holmes: A Century of the Master Detective on Screen

David Stuart Davies, Author, Ian Richardson, Foreword by Titan Books (UK) $35 (208p) ISBN 978-1-84576-537-8

British Holmes expert Davies has updated the original 2001 edition of his comprehensive, copiously illustrated look at the film and TV portrayals of the great detective. As such, this is a must-have for die-hard Sherlockians, though film students and others may fault the author for not having done a better job of balancing breadth with depth. There are interesting tidbits and trivia throughout, starting with the earliest known Holmes film, Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900), which ran for less than a minute. Davies intersperses his chronological survey of the films with chapters on such topics as Dr. Watson, prominent actors in the Holmes role (most notably Basil Rathbone and Jeremey Brett), and radio adaptations. Some might wish for more comparative analysis of, say, the many (mostly unsuccessful) efforts to translate The Hound of the Baskervilles to film. In addition, given that the last serious Holmes movie, Murder by Decree, appeared in 1979, more discussion of why such a staple of the cinema has fallen on hard times would have been welcome. Finally, in a page devoted to unmade films, Davies (Sherlock Holmes and the Scroll of the Dead) devotes disproportionate space to his own pastiches. Still, those who fondly remember Chris Steinbrunner's classic The Films of Sherlock Holmes (1978) will find much to like.