Did you know that Sherlock Holmes was recently selected as an icon of England? Expert bookseller Phillip Gold of 221Books, ABAA, from Westlake Village, CA, has chosen the first edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles as this issue's Pick of the Month.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles
Image courtesy of 221 Books. Find this copy.

The Hound of the Baskervilles
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Bound in the original red cloth with gilt lettering and decoration to spine and front cover. Some wear to spine extremities and some soiling to edges. In particular, there has been a small amount of bleeding of the red dye of the cloth covers to the bottom edges. Two charming bookplates of former Sherlockian owners.

Publisher: George Newnes, London
Publication Date: 1902
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: VG
Edition: First Edition

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This is a first edition of what is arguably the most famous and perhaps the best detective novel of all time, featuring illustrations by Sidney Paget, and overall, is a very good copy of a Sherlock Holmes, indeed a mystery genre cornerstone.

It has been said that Sherlock Holmes is the most generally recognized name in literature, with the possible exception of Mickey Mouse. It is not easy to refrain from offering a comment on the literary significance of Mr. Mouse, but it is noteworthy that he has portrayed a Holmes-like character on numerous occasions. There is no record of any instance in which Sherlock Holmes assumed the identity of Mickey Mouse, however, despite his well-known abilities in the art of disguise.

Tiring of Sherlock Holmes after producing two novels and a series of shorter adventures, Arthur Conan Doyle was determined to kill off his creation in The Adventure of the Final Problem in which Holmes and his arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty plunged to mutual destruction over the Reichenbach Falls. This “final” story appeared in the December 1893 issue of The Strand Magazine.

The public outcry was fierce, but Doyle was resolved to pursue what he considered to be more serious literary pursuits. Doyle stuck to his decision until hearing the story of the legendary hell-hound of Dartmoor. The story was too good to pass up, and Holmes was the ideal protagonist. Setting the story at a time prior to his plunge over the falls solved the problem of how to bring Holmes back to life. The Hound of the Baskervilles appeared monthly in the Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902. The first separate edition was published in an edition of 25,000 copies on March 25, 1902.

How Sherlock Holmes actually did come back from the dead is another story for another time.

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