The world is a lot brighter when you don't have to carry a tissue box every step of the way. One small consolation for a week of snuffly-cough-filled misery - I found some time to read - hours well spent with a wonderful new book that was also a wonderful old friend. At exactly the right time, a review copy of Allen and Unwin's new bindup of the four Sherlock Holmes novels arrived on my desk.
I haven't read Sherlock Holmes since my childhood. I remembered how I enjoyed it and crossed my fingers that the passing years - mine and those of time and its technology -had not dated the telling. I didn't need to worry on either accounts.
What makes a story such a survivor? For starters, the blue-ribbon cast. The protagonist is one of a kind and Dr Watson his perfect sidekick. When Moriarty finally enters, the triad is complete. Although Holmes is a 'student' of the science behind his forensic observations, his true specialty is the anysis of detail. It doesn't matter if the science is obsolete, the story is in what Holmes draws from it and how he does this.
The book is a classic and this new presentation feels right in my reading hands. Sure it's much to big too be carried around but it's perfect for lolling on the lounge. It's not a bulky package but its certainly not flimsy. The cover is soft but the binding solid and the pages firm.
I love the way this book looks and feels. I love the way the plots unravel, even second time around. I just wish all the short stories were available in a second matching volume (hint, hint if anyone is listening...)