Fans of Sherlock Holmes will delight to investigate Victorian England, a world where crimes large and small abound and where dark corners and well-lit drawing rooms alike hide villainy.
Through the enduring eye of Sherlock Holmes, noted historian Jeremy Black traces how Holmes and his milieu evolved in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books and how Holmes continues to resonate today. Black explores the context of Doyle’s ideas and stories and why they struck such a chord with readers in London, and ultimately the world. He portrays a complex man with eclectic interests, from soccer to spiritualism, from cricket to divorce law reform. Standing twice for Parliament, Doyle was a committed meritocrat whose political experiences and values were expressed through his writings. Reading the Holmes stories through the lens of Doyle’s multifaceted career, Black throws fresh light on the values expressed in them and how Holmes would have been perceived at the time. He traces the imperial strand in the Holmes stories and Doyle's treatment of America and Europe.
Drawing on a masterful knowledge both of Doyle’s era and his writings, this entertaining and wide-ranging book uses the Holmes stories to bring Victorian England to vibrant life, a world where crimes large and small abound and where dark corners and well-lit drawing rooms alike hide villainy. Holmes was a hero and an inspiration for many a character who redefined the idea of detection and the detective, a private man of great public importance. Here is his story.
Jeremy Black is professor emeritus of history at the University of Exeter. His books include The Importance of Being Poirot; The World of James Bond; and A History of the Second World War in 100 Maps. He lives in Exeter, United Kingdom.
1 Introduction: The Age of Holmes
2 The Site for Holmes: London
3 Holmes’ Forays: Rural England
6 Holmes and Empire
7 Holmes and the Americas
8 Holmes and Europe
9 The Legacy
Selected Further Reading
Why has Sherlock Holmes stood the test of time? The answer might not be elementary, according to this thought-provoking book. A detailed study that adds new depth to an iconic character.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes, is one of the wonders and glories of late Victorian fiction. Master historian Jeremy Black expertly analyzes the social and historical background of the 221B Baker Street character and his author, providing the reader with everything that he or she would want to know about these literary figures. Jeremy Black has written a simply splendid book which is a joy to read.
This book is a treasury of insights into the era of Detective Sherlock Holmes. It's wonderfully readable and elaborate; a must-read for all Holmes fans.
In this fascinating book, Jeremy Black firmly sets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's work in its historical context. Highlighting issues and thought that would have been commonplace to the readers of Conan Doyle's day, he sheds new light on the stories of Sherlock Holmes for modern readers. The Game Is Afoot opens new avenues of exploration, encouraging today's reader to delve more deeply into the worlds of Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle's other works.
One of the very best studies of Sherlock Holmes and his world that I have read. Jeremy Black brings a rigorous historian’s perspective to the era in which the greatest detective was conceived and operated, as well as to some of his extraordinary afterlife. He has read closely, revealingly, and clearly lovingly the works of the detective’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The result is intelligent, witty, engaging and genuinely mind-expanding. I shall be returning to this book many times.
Jeremy Black podcast interview: