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The Devil and Sherlock Holmes Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession by David Grann
  

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession

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In this series of essays David Grann highlights man’s need for answers to questions, the inbuilt need to know and explain. This compulsion takes many forms, murder enquiries, tracking down sea monsters, proving innocence and in the opening essay, a tale of death and family intrigue worthy of “the master” himself.

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Voodoo Histories: How Conspiracy Theory has Shaped Modern History, David Aaronovitch
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Created Modern Crime, Judith Flander

Synopsis

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes Tales of Murder, Madness and Obsession by David Grann

As Sherlock Holmes once conceded to Dr. Watson, 'If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through generations and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.' And with such a spirit for investigation and discovery does David Grann set out in The Devil and Sherlock Holmes to unravel the truth of twelve great, real-life mysteries. Although Holmes is the subject of just one of the mesmerizing true stories in this collection, all twelve contain elements of intrigue. Many of the protagonists are sleuths: a Polish detective trying to determine whether an author planted clues to a real murder in his post-modern novel; an arson investigator racing to prove whether a man about to be executed is innocent; a legendary French con man questioning whether he is the one who is suddenly being conned; and scientists stalking a sea monster. Unlike the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, these tales are all true. The protagonists are mortal and pieces of the puzzle often elude them. Some of the characters are driven to deception and murder. Others go mad. But ultimately the stories contained in The Devil and Sherlock Holmes shed light on the human condition, and why some people on this earth devote themselves to good and others to evil. As Holmes put it, 'Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent'.

Reviews

Horrifying, hilarious, and outlandish. . . . These straightforward tales grip you as unrelentingly as the suckered appendages of the giant squid Grann attempts to track down in 'The Squid Hunter.
Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A) A gripping read

. . . . Obsessives get themselves into some interesting places. Grann is the perfect guide to take you there. -- The Miami Herald

A dozen intricately crafted accounts. . . . Like the best of stories, each carries the spice of intrigue and the momentum of a search. . . . [They] will make your heart race and, at times, ache. They're stories to share with friends, even if Grann can't be there himself. -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

Grann's obsession with how narratives are told is complex and compelling. . . . But it's the basic stories themselves--bizarre and fascinating, bolstered by exhaustive research--that make the book so gripping. -- Time Out New York

Titillating. . . . Evidence of Grann
Praise for The Devil and Sherlock Holmes : A gifted storyteller

, Grann has a Sherlock Holmesian gift for unearthing facts that are hidden in plain sight, presenting a crystal-clear narrative and letting his compelling cast of characters speak for themselves.....Easily worth the price of admission, a visit to Grann's rogue's gallery is likely to leave you with a sense, at once awful and awesome, of the profound desire we all have for recognition. -- Portland Oregonian

Grann's obsession with how narratives are told is complex and compelling...But it's the basic stories themselves -- bizarre and fascinating, bolstered by exhaustive research -- that make the book so gripping. -- TimeOut New York Praise for David Grann's acclaimed New York Times Bestseller, The Lost City of Z

At once a biography, a detective story and wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing . . . suspenseful . . . rollicking . . .Fascinating reads with all the pace and excitem


About the Author

David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He has written about everything from New York City's antiquated water tunnels to the hunt for the giant squid. His stories have appeared in several anthologies. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New Republic. He lives in New York with his wife and two children.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd March 2011

Author

David Grann

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Author's Website

www.davidgrann.com/
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Publisher

Simon & Schuster Ltd

Format

Paperback
352 pages

Categories

History
The Real World
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

General & world history
True stories

ISBN

9781849830669

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