Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 1; Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 2. 2 Vols.
This volume, authorized by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's estate, contains all 4 full-length novels and all 56 short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes. At over a thousand pages, the weighty tome is a perfect gift for budding amateur sleuths, and it is an ideal companion for a long stay on a desert island (or a leisurely trip through the English countryside). As the reader wades past the tense introductions of A Study in Scarlet and moves towards such classic tales as The Hound of the Baskervilles, "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," and "The Final Problem," she is sure to draw her own conclusions about Holmes's veiled past and his quirky relationship with his "Boswell," Watson. Doyle never revealed much about Holmes's early life, but the joy of reading the complete Holmes is assembling the trivia of each story into something like a portrait of the detective and his creator. By the end of the long journey through London and across Europe (with a long stopover at Reichenbach Falls), one is apt to have found a friend for life. --Patrick O'Kelley