“The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession” by David Grann (Doubleday, 2010)

The Devil and Sherlock Holmesstarstarstarstar

After the runaway success of David Grann’s first book, The Lost City of Z, he returns with a collection of some of his most fascinating articles that he has published in various publications over the last decade.  Like The Lost City of Z, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes is just as compelling and fascinating, as Grann delves into some of the most unusual minds and stories you’ve never heard about.

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes runs the gamut – which is always a good thing with a collection – with the first story about the mysterious death of the world’s foremost Sherlock Holmes expert, to what a daredevil New Zealander is doing to discover more about one of life’s most unknown creatures: the giant squid.  There is the incredible story of Frédéric Bourdin, known as “The Chameleon,” with an ability to be anyone he chooses to be.  The water system of New York isn’t in great shape with two giant pipes built long ago that are in much need of repair, while the new tunnel being built by sandhogs is not scheduled to be completed until 2020; meanwhile either of the two old tunnels could give at any moment, depriving the people of New York with water.

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes is really a study of the human psyche, as these seemingly unbelievable stories reveal the extents to which some people will do certain things to achieve a desired result.  This book will astound you, but also keep you hooked to every single page.

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Originally written on April 14 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.