I’ve just finished reading the book The Devil and Sherlock Holmes by David Grann. It’s a collection of his magazine journalism, mostly from The New Yorker, and I liked it very much. It turns out that most of the articles are available online, so I’ve collected them below.
A lot of the pieces here fall roughly into the category of “true crime”, and indeed this is where the book’s at its strongest. My favourite pieces were Trial by Fire—which reinforced my opposition to the death penalty—and The Brand—which challenged it.
THE DEVIL AND SHERLOCK HOLMES
TALES OF MURDER, MADNESS, AND OBSESSION
by DAVID GRANN
"Any truth is better than infinite doubt."
The strange death of a Sherlock Holmes fanatic
Trial by Fire
Did Texas execute an innocent man?
The many lives of Frédéric Bourdin
A postmodern murder mystery
Which Way Did He Run?
The fireman who forgot 9/11
"A strange enigma is man!"
The Squid Hunter
Chasing the sea’s most elusive creature
City of Water
Can an antiquated maze of tunnels continue to sustain New York?
The Old Man and the Gun
The secrets of a legendary stickup man
Why Rickey Henderson won’t go home
"All that was monstrous and inconceivably wicked in the universe."
The rise of the most dangerous prison gang in America
The city that fell in love the Mob
Giving “The Devil” His Due
The death-squad real estate agent