The subtitle of The Sherlock Holmes Companion says it all: ‘An Elementary Guide’. This handsomely produced, attractively illustrated volume is aimed more at the novice Holmesian than the dedicated hard-core enthusiast, but it’s none the worse for that, as Smith’s lively and intelligent text will stimulate both levels of Holmes enthusiasts (and it shouldn’t be forgotten that there is an army of new admirers courtesy of a certain Mr Cumberbatch; what fans of the actor will make of the matchless original stories if they ever get round to them remains to be seen). Daniel Smith’s book also has a section on the various films and TV adaptations featuring Baker Street’s most famous resident, which, though nothing like as comprehensive as similar work by Holmesian Extraordinaire David Stuart Davis, is well done. And films and TV are the mediums via which – let’s face it – many people first encountered The Great Detective.

The Sherlock Holmes Companion is published by Aurum Press

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