I’m not writing about Sherlock. But…

Posted by Matt Kuhns on Feb 11, 2013

In writing a book about real-life great detectives, you could say that I was almost writing a rebuttal to Sherlock Holmes, even an anti-Sherlock (in the sense of antimatter). In a way that’s true, too; I resisted including his name in the title (a decision which any publisher other than myself probably would have vetoed for the sake of sales) and tried to avoid making reference to him in the book, any more often than was really necessary.

And yet, he just kept finding his way in again and again.

But, then, the whole thing began with Sherlock Holmes in a sense, or nearly so. I have become a fan of the character, in recent years, and had I not been one I might not have stopped in the middle of The Mystery of Blue Train to take offense at Hercule Poirot’s declaring himself “probably the greatest detective in the world.” Had I not done that, I might never have considered the question that followed from the recognition that this was, of course, an exceptionally geeky response on my part. Instead, attempting to check my descent into “who’s stronger” comic book nerditry (endearing though it is) I thought of moving the question of “greatest detective” from fiction into the real world, and… here we are.

Looking at detective reality, however, doesn’t actually obscure Sherlock from view, truth be told. Read more…

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