The Devil and Sherlock Holmes is not what I expected, but I wasn't disappointed, either. The twelve previously published magazine stories are similar to Holmes mysteries, but not all involve crimes. Grann immerses himself in his work, reporting on his subjects’ history, and detailing his own interactions with them.
While I initially anticipated a series of murder-mysteries, the people in The Devil and Sherlock Holmes are what piqued my curiosity. Each tale focuses on the backstory of the character and provides some context to Grann’s interviews and interest in them. There are enough facts to satisfy my need for evidence, but Grann also describes the human aspect of those involved. After reading each story, I could decide if I wanted more information or not. For example, the chapter called The Squid Hunter, while very interesting, provides sufficient information, and I didn’t pursue it further. However, The Old Man and the Gun, which is about a lifetime stick-up man and prison escape artist, made me want to read more about Forrest Tucker.
Each chapter is a quick read and ideal for those who don’t have time to get deeply immersed in a non-fiction book, but still want to read about a variety of topics. You can pick and choose which chapters to read, or read them in any order.