The Pageless, Pagetless Sherlock

As readers of my “Lens” columns may remember, I am a devout Holmesian. I am also a proud iPad owner, and I love free things. (Yes, I’m American.) Yet I find myself strangely unsettled by today’s “Open Culture” post: The Complete Sherlock Holmes Now Free on the Kindle:

It’s surely worth giving you the quick heads up that, starting today, “the complete collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales, both long and short, have been compiled together for the first time.”

Now, the price is most assuredly right. And Doyle’s stories — a decisive factor in my childhood onset bibliophilism — are as beloved to me as anything I have ever read. So this news seems to me a blessing of an extremely obvious kind, right?

Wrong. I cannot embrace it, for I find myself unable to separate my beloved Sherlock from the equally beloved images of Sydney Paget that graced the pages of my well-thumbed “Complete Holmes.” I know that the author criticized Paget’s work — he rendered the sleuth entirely too handsome for Doyle’s tastes, apparently  – but they are as ingrained in my childhood as the stories themselves. And no Paget-free ebook can change that, no matter how convenient (or free) it may be.

The Paget-Drawn Holmes: accept no substitutes.

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.


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