Eight essays for the buffiest of Baker Street buffs only, half of them in that truly exasperating mode known to its practitioners as Baker Street's ""Higher Criticism"": heavily footnoted pseudo-scholarship that, giddily dead-pan, treats Sherlock as a real-life historical figure. Like, for instance, Hall's indignant attack on the portrayal of the Holmes/Freud relationship in Seven Per Cent Solution. Ho hum. Three of the other pieces are of the real-scholarship nit-pick variety: a hunt for references to Holmesiana in the work of T. S. Eliot (one arresting comparison between Murder in the Cathedral and The Musgrave Ritual); a painfully close textual analysis of the turn-of-the-century Maurice Leblanc stories that pose sleuth ArsÃ¨ne Lupin against ""Holmlock Shears""; an assemblage of the evidence re Conan Doyle's inspiration for that first Sherlock adventure. The longest essay by far attempts to set the record straight on ""Conan Doyle and Spiritualism"" but resoundingly fails to make Doyle's obsession any more understandable than it was to biographer John Dickson Cart (""What was wrong? What ailed the man?""). Harmless and literate--but a bland and unnecessary addition to an already groaning shelf.