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Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  10,820 ratings  ·  51 reviews
From the Dust Jacket:
Although millions know of Sherlock Holmes through the chronicles of his exploits written by Dr. Watson, it is only now that, owing to his recent death, the full biography and facts of his life can be brought before the public. This volume brings together for the first time every known fact that can be fully authenticated about the life of one of the wo
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 7th 1995 by Random House Value Publishing (first published 1962)
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Average rating 4.43  · 
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 ·  10,820 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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C.O. Bonham
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sherlockia
For a biography of a fictional person it really wasn't very interesting. The narritave is largely just paraphrasing of Doyle's adventures with a lot of speculation thrown in.

If you do decide to read this do try to find a copy of "Profile By Gaslight: an irregular reader about the private life of Sherlock Holmes" Edited by: Edgar W. Smith Published by: Simon & Schuster NY 1944. "Profile By Gaslight" is referenced a lot in Baring-Gould's foot notes and is on it's own a much more interesting read.
Oliver Baer
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read of Sherlock Holmes' biography as if he were a real person. I personally enjoyed how Baring-Gould threaded together the canon with what we now would call fan-fiction (the book was published in 1962) and his own speculation. It even reads like many biographies, at some points a bit slow-going, but then it picks up again. To those scholars wanting to know more about Baring-Gould's research or completists of the canon, I recommend reading Appendix II, which is a bibliographic compi ...more
Riju Ganguly
Jun 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the ultimate book for lovers of Sherlock Holmes. In it Baring-Gould lovingly recreates the persona of the Great Detective and his trustworthy friend with such details that you can literally smell the fog and horse-droppings. So can you see the dried blood and glitz of posh living. In twenty five chapters, two appendices, and several 'Interruptions' in between, it's truly a dramatic representation of 'A Life of The World's First Consulting Detective'.
Besides, if you read it, the solution
M.R. Graham
A fascinating piece of scholarship, expertly blending fact with surmise. Baring-Gould does an excellent job of untangling Watson's obfuscations, reading between the lines, and catching odd clues left by the Detective's biographer.
Unfortunately, the conclusion left something to be desired. One would think that so respected a Holmesian scholar would have noted that, to date, The Times has yet to publish an obituary for Sherlock Holmes. I credit The Times' editorial staff with both the resources an
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What an incredibly fun read. Yes, it's dry and clinical in spots, but what biography isn't? Baring-Gould clearly did his research, drawing from Conan Doyle's published stories of the Great Detective and building on concepts introduced by other Holmesian scholars. He here constructs a fully detailed and authentic biography not just of Sherlock Holmes but of his brother Mycroft and their parents. (Given somewhat short shrift is oldest Holmes brother Sherrinford, a country squire.) Baring-Gould's w ...more
Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Late last night, I finished this singular title from Holmesian studies: Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street by the late W.S. Baring-Gould, a Holmesian scholar of note. (First published, 1962; this vintage paperback edition is from 1963, the second printing.)

This might be the pinnacle of scholarly literature concentrating on “The Game” of treating Holmes and Watson as real people (according to Wikipedia, Ronald Knox, the English theologian, gets credit for inventing “The Game”). It’s a complete biogr
Rena Sherwood
Once you read all of the novels and short stories about Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you want more. One of the first names you'll come across whether reading a pastiche or Sherlockian "studies" is William S. Baring-Gould, a sort of Patron Saint of Sherlockians. He wrote a lot but is best known for his annotated Sherlock Holmes stories and this book.


Which is a shame since this book sucks. Yes, it's influential and was the first to try and write a straight "biography" of Sher
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sherlockiana
This is a pastiche biography of Sherlock Holmes which maps out a chronology of all of his adventures and includes Baring-Gould's headcanons about Holmes. I mostly read this for research purposes. Since this book was so influential among Sherlockians, I figured it was required reading. Props to this guy for doing the hard work of putting together a timeline, but the reading was a bit of a slog at times, since it was more or less a summary of the canon. Baring-Gould's headcanons also wildly diverg ...more
Ron Chicaferro
May 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you're a fan of the worlds first consulting detective then you might want to read this wonderful book, Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street by William S. Baring-Gould. The book was published in 1962 so it may be hard to find but it is the most definitive of the Holmes books. Baring-Gould spent 20 years researching all the aspects of the Conan-Doyle stories to either prove or disprove many of the aspects of the Holmes stories that have been adopted by other authors. Its a fascinating look into a ch ...more
R. C.
Dec 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
How can a story that's basically a clever compilation of "facts" from many other stories be so fascinating? My favorite part was reading the info on Holmes' dad that was actually lifted directly from The Lost World's description of Professor Challenger. Uh-huh, origin of Holmes' neuroticism, check. Can I add to this review hearts and flutters and stars for the "biographer"? *~*~<3~*~* Mr. Baring-Gould *~*~<3~*~* ...more
Kathy  Petersen
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've been reading the entire Holmes collection chronologically by publication date; Baring-Gould has written this biography using the chronology of the cases themselves. This makes me want to start over -- but I won't since B-G has provided sufficient detail to remind me of the tale he briefly, and without spoilers, describes. He also reveals some hitherto unknown facets of Holmes' life after Reichenbach and before the adventure of the empty house. (Rex Stout would neither confirm nor deny...) ...more
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A ‘biography’ of a fictional character has a certain meta feel to it, and this measures up, with footnotes and references to other fictional characters and novels, and a deep comprehension of the writings of Dr. Watson. To any fan of Sherlock Holmes this book will be both indispensable and delightful. Oh, and Baring-Gould even solves the mystery of Jack the Ripper.
this is a super fun book to own, but it's more of a reference than something i'd read start to finish. (the fact that my copy is from 1963 and might just be falling apart at the binding.) (my second reason is that i'm fairly certain that mr baring-gould said that nero wolf is the child of holmes and irene adler. the only holmsian conspiracy theory that i'm into is the theory that somehow sherlock holmes is the shadow.) it's basically a history of holmes' life, separated into neat sections based ...more
Santosh Bhat
May 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
A famous piece of Sherlockiana - books which consider Sherlock Holmes as a real historical figure, not a work of fiction. Reveals some interesting information. Bet you didn't know that Sherlock and Mycroft had an older brother called Sherrinford, That Moriarty was the youngest of three brothers all of whom were named James Moriarty. Also that Irene Adler and Sherlock had a child and that Sherlock lived upto the ripe old age of 103.
In true biography style, this is a dense book, filled with tons o
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeffrey Eernisse
Amazing work of scholarship for what can never be a serious purpose, except for how seriously those who pursue it delight in taking it. The first comprehensive attempt at a biography of Sherlock Holmes based on the Doyle canon (with some few diversions and flights of imagination). Many of the conclusions to which this book comes have since become a kind of secondary canon—and why not? They are brilliant! For everyone who loves the Great Game, this is one of its cornerstones.
☆ chris ☆
Jun 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
Although this contains some useful tidbits, including an extraordinarily detailed timeline still considered (mostly) accurate today, Baring-Gould, to say the least, takes liberties with both the character and canonical facts. It is more a fictionalized account than an analysis, and is the origin of certain nonsensical theories that have stubbornly persisted to this day. Take it for what it is, but don't forget the heaping grain of salt. ...more
Claire N
May 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: sherlock
Required reading for any hopeful Baker Street Irregular - fascinating how he ties together the "facts" of Holmes' life. I do wish he had spent a little less time fully recounting several of the stories and more on citing how we know various things about Holmes (especially where there were large leaps). ...more
Whitney Grindberg
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Fun bu kind of redundant read, well written in the style and spirit of the stories. If they were less retellings of the original stories within his life and more unique happenings of Holmes's life, it would have been a better read. ...more
Aug 03, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
All the respect for the hardcore Sherlock Holmes fans that love this book. But I personally don't understand its existence. I couldn't get through it. And I tried. Multiple times. ...more
Francisco Romao
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Book
Debi Emerson
The author does an excellent job of taking the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle plus the subsequent articles & research to compile an extremely interesting "biography" of Sherlock Holmes!
Sep 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardcore Holmes fans
This is the second attempt at a Sherlock Holmes biography that I've read, and I ended up being slightly bored by both of them. I guess the problem is that at some point both authors can't do much else than retell the canon stories. Baring-Gould did this to the point where he paraphrased or just quoted looooong passages from the canon, which was not necessary and didn't even fit with the style of the rest of the book. Why would you have extensive dialogue in a (fictional) biography? But maybe tha ...more
James Walter
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun, But Oh So Serious

I loved "Sherlock Holmes Of Baker Street" tremendously. Such commitment to establishing a superb continuum of facts to support a supreme fallacy is to be commended. I know my statements are probably offensive to the "died in the wool" Sherlockian! But to the I think, majority of Sherlock Holmes fans, who enjoy without obsession, this is masterpiece to be enjoyed, both for a better understanding and appreciation of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and for the creativity of such
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serious Holmes fans with high boredom threshholds
I'd been looking forward to reading this for months. Not as much as I'd been looking forward to Game of Shadows, but then Robert Downey Jr's very liberal interpretation of Holmes is the sexiest thing I've ever seen in a film, and this is just a geeky old book about Conan Doyle's original character.

Three interesting speculative chapters about Sherlock's pre-detecting life make a decent opener, but later only the obligatory Jack The Ripper digression interleaves a sheaf of unoriginal case synopses
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first I couldn't believe I hadn't read this sooner. But now I'm glad I waited a couple of years after I finished the canon. This amazing fictional biography in part acts as a sort of canon refresher. It's really fun to read about many of the cases from a biographical perspective. I love how Baring-Gould filled in ACD's gaping plot holes and makes sense of the radical inconsistencies Sherlockians are always discussing. Of COURSE Watson had three wives! Everything makes sense now. Oh, THAT's wh ...more
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sherlock
This is a biography of Sherlock Holmes, written as if he'd been a real person. In the first several chapters, the author creates a backstory for him that has been riffed off of in fanon ever since. The events of the adventures that Watson chronicled in the Canon are rearranged chronologically to create an interesting and coherent narrative that helps make sense out of Conan Doyle's cavalier approach to continuity. I really enjoyed this, and as soon as I finished this library book, I ordered a co ...more
Kirsten T
Nov 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Completely bonkers and therefore entirely loveable. A work of Serious Biography about Actual Real Person, Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. Did you know that Sherlock Holmes was prrooobbbabbly hunting the yeti during his three year "Great Hiatus"? Or that Professor Moriarty may well be dozens of other famous fictional characters, including Fu Manchu and Captain Nemo? Well now you do. Thanks, William S. Baring-Gould! (Basically, Sherlockian scholarship is BANANAS.) ...more
Michael P.
A thoroughly enjoyable "biography" of a fictional character. Baring-Gould would have a better book had he resisted the temptations to supply so many plot synopsis from Conan Doyle stories as if they are the events of Holmes's life. The ending is every bit as silly as it tries to be moving, but overall this is a very readable and fun book of the "Holmes was real" variety. This conceit is silly to its core, but many like it. ...more
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William Stuart Baring-Gould (1913–1967) was a noted Sherlock Holmes scholar, best known as the author of the influential 1962 fictional biography, Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street: A life of the world's first consulting detective.

He was creative director of Time magazine's circulation and corporate education departments from 1937 until his death. His paternal grandfather was Reverend Sabine Baring-

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