I cannot exaggerate the excellence of this edition. In almost every way, it's an improvement on its predecessor (the Baring-Gould "Annotated Holmes" of 1968). Like the earlier one, this is a "Sherlockian" edition which discusses the stories as if they were histories of actual persons and events-but it avoids the clubby, cutesy excesses of many Sherlockian publications and provides many useful historical asides and photographs. The annotations entertain and often enlighten.
The production values are stunning: the typography is elegant and clear, and despite the abundance of notes on many pages, the layout is never cluttered. It is big and heavy, but surprisingly you can actually READ this edition, which one cannot say for the Baring-Gould. And the reproductions of hundreds of period illustrations are simply the best I've ever seen in a Holmes edition. Sidney Paget (for example) has often been ill-served by muddy, contrast-less reproductions, but here they are as clean and crisp as the original materials probably permit them to be. Kudos to the photo editor!
My regrets are few. The introduction, though long and well-written, seems a bit skimpy treating the movie and radio adaptations of Holmes: Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett are adequately represented, but the rest of the section (too brief) is a scattershot itemization of a few movies. (I mean, does "Without a Clue" really warrant any mention at all other than as a comic anomaly?) Holmes iconography in general could really have stood a few more pages, since it has been so central to Holmes's continuing popularity.
And one other small regret: weirdly, Frederick Dorr Steele's illustrations grace the box and dust jackets, but he isn't represented nearly enough inside: it's nice to see his fine sequence of pictures for "The Creeping Man," but it's sad that his flawless portrait of Holmes on the cliff (from "The Lion's Mane") isn't here.
But these are cavils. For anyone (not just Sherlock junkies) interested in the Holmes cycle, this is the edition to have: it'll keep you company for a long time to come. I look forward to the concluding volume (with the four novels) next year!