Leslie Klinger has been quite busy since moving to Malibu with his wife, Sharon, three years ago. Not only is he a successful business tax lawyer commuting into town weekly, a supporter of the local library and Boys and Girls Club, and a Book Fair volunteer, he has also compiled the most extensive collection of the 56 Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This collection, a beautiful boxed set of two volumes, arrives just in time for gift giving as well as for the 150th supposed Jan. 6 birthday of Sherlock Holmes.
Klinger’s volumes include illustrations, period photographs and more than 2,000 footnotes written by Klinger to enlighten readers of the history of events, as well as explanations of anything that might go over modern heads. His footnotes range from explaining the rules of rugby at the time to the writer’s personal favorite, the Victorian fear of premature burial.
Klinger appeared at Diesel, A Bookstore on Saturday afternoon to give a brief lecture to a full, attentive house made up of what seemed like fellow Sherlockians. One attendee even sported the customary Sherlock Holmes tweed cap. But the most Sherlockian of the group seemed to be the writer himself who said he has devoted a room at his Corral Canyon house to his Sherlock collection. When asked why he decided to attempt this compilation, he replied, “It was all my wife.” After reading the stories and novels about Holmes’ adventures as a break from studying law books, he began collecting books as well as other memorabilia. Then Sharon, an avid stamp collector herself, suggested he do something with his collection, and he did by creating what he calls his “magnum opus.” There is another volume on its way next year including the novels. This book will complete the profile of Sherlock Holmes on the spine of the first two volumes.
Klinger admitted, “This is not Shakespeare,” but informed the Diesel crowd that Holmes is one of three most popular personalities along with Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus, with fan clubs in every major country and stories published in 80 languages. Klinger explains this interest as coming from fans’ desire to be like Holmes, single-minded and driven to do right, or to be like Watson, the ultimate dependable friend. He asked the audience to “embrace the friendship of the tale.”
Before beginning his lecture, Klinger thanked John Evans, the co-owner of Diesel, for bringing a bookstore back to Malibu.