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THE GAME IS AFOOT

THE ENDURING WORLD OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

A detailed study that adds new depth to an iconic character.

Why has Sherlock Holmes stood the test of time? The answer might not be elementary, according to this thought-provoking book.

Black, a veteran historian who has published more than 180 books, is interested in why Holmes has been so popular for so long. The author, a meticulous researcher, begins with Victorian England, where most of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are set. It was a time of radical cultural change, with technology and reason supplanting religious faith and the mercantile class beginning to push the old aristocracy aside. Holmes’ capacity for deductive reasoning and forensic science fit well in this milieu, and many of the villains are nouveau riche types. A surprising number of Americans, usually of the robber baron variety, wander through the pages of Doyle’s stories as well. Black, while acknowledging Holmes’ legendary intelligence, emphasizes that he was also a man of action, ready to don working-class disguises and fight if necessary. This duality that allowed Holmes to transcend his 19th-century origins also inspired a legion of imitators. As the stories developed, Holmes became more rounded and fully fleshed alongside his steady partner, Watson. The Holmes character is perfect for the big screen, with Basil Rathbone depicting him as a sophisticated, moral figure. Many actors have portrayed Holmes, and Robert Downey’s recent version brought a broad streak of dark comedy and emphasized the Holmes-Watson relationship. In the TV series Sherlock, Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, was transplanted to modern London, and Watson’s casebook morphed into a blog. The innovative series Elementary put them in New York, with Holmes as a recovering addict and Watson as his sober partner. One unfortunate omission from the book is the 2015 movie Mr. Holmes, in which Ian McKellen deftly plays Holmes as an aged, lonely figure, terrified of the dementia closing in. But this is a small point, and Black delivers an interesting, authoritative read.

A detailed study that adds new depth to an iconic character.

Pub Date: June 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-538-16146-3

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller


  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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