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

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Acclaimed New Yorker writer and author of the breakout debut bestseller The Lost City of Z, David Grann offers a collection of spellbinding narrative journalism.

Whether he's reporting on the infiltration of the murderous Aryan Brotherhood into the U.S. prison system, tracking down a chameleon con artist in Europe, or riding in a cyclone- tossed skiff with a scientist hunting the elusive giant squid, David Grann revels in telling stories that explore the nature of obsession and that piece together true and unforgettable mysteries.

Each of the dozen stories in this collection reveals a hidden and often dangerous world and, like Into Thin Air and The Orchid Thief, pivots around the gravitational pull of obsession and the captivating personalities of those caught in its grip. There is the world's foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes who is found dead in mysterious circumstances; an arson sleuth trying to prove that a man about to be executed is innocent; and sandhogs racing to complete the brutally dangerous job of building New York City's water tunnels before the old system collapses. Throughout, Grann's hypnotic accounts display the power — and often the willful perversity — of the human spirit.

Compulsively readable, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant mosaic of ambition, madness, passion, and folly.

Review:

"Grann's in-depth reporting and vivid writing make this worthwhile reading for lovers of good journalism." Booklist

Review:

"Like the best of stories, each carries the spice of intrigue and the momentum of a search, either by the writer or his subjects. And, these stories...gallop across the globe....They're stories to share with friends, even if Grann can't be there himself." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"This book collects a dozen nonfiction stories by New Yorker staff writer David Grann that first appeared in that magazine and others. The best ones live up to the titillating promise of the subtitle....[A]ll 12 are evidence of Grann's abundant talent as a writer." Providence Journal

Review:

"The sign of a lasting work of nonfiction is that it's still a gripping read years after its original publication has been consigned to the recycling bin. These pieces, without exception, meet that test....[Grann] excels at capturing people and showing what makes them tick. His subjects are always interesting and exceptional, if not always sympathetic." Miami Herald

Synopsis:

Acclaimed New Yorker writer and author of the breakout debut bestseller The Lost City of Z, David Grann offers a collection of spellbinding narrative journalism.

Whether he’s reporting on the infiltration of the murderous Aryan Brotherhood into the U.S. prison system, tracking down a chameleon con artist in Europe, or riding in a cyclone- tossed skiff with a scientist hunting the elusive giant squid, David Grann revels in telling stories that explore the nature of obsession and that piece together true and unforgettable mysteries.

Each of the dozen stories in this collection reveals a hidden and often dangerous world and, like Into Thin Air and The Orchid Thief, pivots around the gravitational pull of obsession and the captivating personalities of those caught in its grip. There is the world’s foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes who is found dead in mysterious circumstances; an arson sleuth trying to prove that a man about to be executed is innocent; and sandhogs racing to complete the brutally dangerous job of building New York City’s water tunnels before the old system collapses. Throughout, Grann’s hypnotic accounts display the power—and often the willful perversity—of the human spirit.

Compulsively readable, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant mosaic of ambition, madness, passion, and folly.

Synopsis:

DAVID GRANN is a staff writer at The New Yorker and

About the Author

David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker and author of the bestseller The Lost City of Z, which has been translated into more than twenty languages. His stories have appeared in many best-American-writing anthologies, and he has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and The New Republic.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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gaby317, April 8, 2010 (view all comments by gaby317)
The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession is an unusual and fascinating collection of true stories. Each story is carefully researched and rich with detail.

We learn about:

* Mysterious Circumstances: The Strange Death of a Sherlock Holmes Fanatic Richard Lancelyn Green, the foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes, sought to find a missing collection Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's letters, diaries, and manuscripts. Before the papers are found, Green is found to have died in a mysterious fashion. Grann takes us to Green's life, his quest, his rivals, and the mystery of his death.
* Trial by Fire: Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man? Grann examines the case of Todd Willingham who was accused and convicted of having murdered his three daughters by arson. Decades after the fire, a scientific expert is able to determine what had caused the fire and to evaluate Willingham's guilt.
* The Chameleon: The Many Lives of Frederic Bourdin Frederic Bourdin successfully adopts a variety of ages, professions, and nationalities - American, French, Spanish...
* True Crime: A Post Modern Murder Mystery Described by the Polish press as "the perfect crime" the murder of a 35-year old businessman is linked to the graphic and shocking novel "Amok".
* The Squid Hunter: Chasing the Sea's Most Elusive Creature Grann recounts man's encounters with and search for the Giant Squid from ancient times to today. From descriptions in the Bible to Roman encyclopedias and Homer's Odyssey, descriptions of giant squid are plentiful and encompass different continents. Grann accompanies Steve O'Shea, a marine biologist from New Zealand in his quest to capture and raise giant squid.
* City of Water: Can an Antiquated Maze of Tunnels Continue to Sustain New York? Grann explores the caverns and tunnels over 600 feet underground to understand the system of waterways and pipelines that pump billions of gallons of water into New York City daily.
* Giving "The Devil" His Due: The Death Squad Real-Estate Agent Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, known in Haiti as "the devil" had terrorized his countrymen with organized violence and mass murders. When Toto Constant forced out of power and facing criminal charges, he escaped to the United States. Toto Constant lived in the open in New York City, worked as a real estate agent and mingled with fellow Haitians despite the clamor for his arrest and execution. Grann interviews Constant, his American allies, and the Haitians who seek his imprisonment for his crimes - and paints a fascinating account of Toto Constant.
* The Brand: The Rise of the Most Dangerous Prison Gang in America. I'm almost afraid to mention the Aryan Brotherhood, especially after reading about their organization, their methods, and their willingness to murder and maim with impunity. Based on interviews and research, Grann describes how the organization developed, expanded, and solidified its power base. The intricate methods of communication, the bloodthirsty acts of revenge, and the intentional intimidation have all built a terrifying organization of criminals with vast resources.

The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction certainly applies here. David Grann's carefully selected stories are intricate, complex and fascinating. These are stories that you'll read and want to share with those around you - whether to tell them about giant squids or the reach of the Aryan Brotherhood or the case of Todd Willingham, I am certain that this is a book that readers will want to recommend to friends and family. I recommend it highly myself to anyone with an interest in nonfiction, mysteries, or searching for something informative and fun to read.

ISBN-10: 0385517920 - Hardcover
Publisher: Doubleday (March 9, 2010), 352 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385517928
Subtitle:
Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession
Author:
Grann, David
Author:
David Grann
Publisher:
Doubleday
Subject:
General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective Fiction
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Subject:
Fiction : General
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Publication Date:
20100309
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.22x6.44x1.29 in. 1.34 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Crime

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385517928 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Grann's in-depth reporting and vivid writing make this worthwhile reading for lovers of good journalism."
"Review" by , "Like the best of stories, each carries the spice of intrigue and the momentum of a search, either by the writer or his subjects. And, these stories...gallop across the globe....They're stories to share with friends, even if Grann can't be there himself."
"Review" by , "This book collects a dozen nonfiction stories by New Yorker staff writer David Grann that first appeared in that magazine and others. The best ones live up to the titillating promise of the subtitle....[A]ll 12 are evidence of Grann's abundant talent as a writer."
"Review" by , "The sign of a lasting work of nonfiction is that it's still a gripping read years after its original publication has been consigned to the recycling bin. These pieces, without exception, meet that test....[Grann] excels at capturing people and showing what makes them tick. His subjects are always interesting and exceptional, if not always sympathetic."
"Synopsis" by , Acclaimed New Yorker writer and author of the breakout debut bestseller The Lost City of Z, David Grann offers a collection of spellbinding narrative journalism.

Whether he’s reporting on the infiltration of the murderous Aryan Brotherhood into the U.S. prison system, tracking down a chameleon con artist in Europe, or riding in a cyclone- tossed skiff with a scientist hunting the elusive giant squid, David Grann revels in telling stories that explore the nature of obsession and that piece together true and unforgettable mysteries.

Each of the dozen stories in this collection reveals a hidden and often dangerous world and, like Into Thin Air and The Orchid Thief, pivots around the gravitational pull of obsession and the captivating personalities of those caught in its grip. There is the world’s foremost expert on Sherlock Holmes who is found dead in mysterious circumstances; an arson sleuth trying to prove that a man about to be executed is innocent; and sandhogs racing to complete the brutally dangerous job of building New York City’s water tunnels before the old system collapses. Throughout, Grann’s hypnotic accounts display the power—and often the willful perversity—of the human spirit.

Compulsively readable, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant mosaic of ambition, madness, passion, and folly.

"Synopsis" by , DAVID GRANN is a staff writer at The New Yorker and
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