Amy Thomas reviews The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes: The Sherlockian Artwork of Norman Schatell

19 Aug

The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes:

The Sherlockian Artwork of Norman Schatell

Reviewed by Amy Thomas

The Baker Street Babes


“As an art lover, I derive special joy from visiting museums like the Met in New York or the National Gallery. There’s a somewhat impish part of me, however, that takes more than a little delight in The Far Side and any collection of cartoons from The New Yorker I can get my hands on. It’s difficult to explain the appeal of a humorous cartoon—you either get it or you don’t, much like lolcats or anti-joke chicken. If, like me, you’re the sort of person who enjoys cartoons, The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes is right up your street.

During the 1970s, artist Norman Schatell published prolifically in The Baker Street Journaland various other prestigious Holmesian publications. This book collects over three hundred of his cartoons and presents them as a delicious buffet to delight humorously-inclined Sherlockians.

Books of cartoons make wonderful coffee table accompaniments, because they bear opening over and over again to discover new things to enjoy. Schatell’s work is both whimsical and respectful. It’s obvious he was a skilled artist and a knowledgeable Sherlockian, so part of the fun for readers is finding the in-jokes he included for those who are in the Holmesian know.

My one beef with the book, the fact that it’s a little hard to read the written text on a few cartoons, actually adds to the charm: Apparently, several of the included illustrations are actually reproduced from illustrated envelopes Schatell sent to his friends, so a bit of a homespun feel is to be expected.

Norman Schatell’s artwork added a great deal to the world of Sherlock Holmes fandom in the 1970s. Thankfully, due to his son Glenn’s efforts, new-wave fans can now enjoy his collection of humorous, irreverent, and delightful cartoons for years to come.”

The Lighter Side of Sherlock Holmes is available from major bookstores including Amazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK, and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository. Also available on Amazon Kindle.


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