Rebecca Loncraine reviews the book by Nick Rennison, in The Independent:
This new look at the mysterious sleuth is an entertaining mix of history, literary criticism and biography. It traces the story of Conan Doyle’s famous creation through a careful reading of Dr Watson’s accounts, combines this with research into the historical record and moves seamlessly between them. The reader becomes joyfully dizzy with confusion about what came from Conan Doyle’s pen and what “really” happened in late-19th-century London.
The story of the great detective is a window on to the era at large. Nick Rennison explains that Holmes was “simultaneously a typical product of his age … and a man at odds with the values and beliefs of the society in which he lived”. The author uses this contradiction well, as a way of telling us about the period.