I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I pulled this out intending to do my annual Christmas read of The Blue Carbuncle, but made the mistake of glancing at the introduction. 12 chapters of introduction later, I finally read The Blue Carbuncle yesterday.
Baring-Gould didn't so much as introduce the annotated volumes and write a short but thorough biography of not only Conan Doyle, but Sherlock, Watson (to a lesser extent) and several chapters of pure out-and-out speculation of exactly where 221B Baker Street was, the layout of the rooms (was Watson on the third floor, or the second?; did Sherlock have 2 doors out of his bedroom?), and what kinds of furniture might or might not have been there. His cited sources include all the great 'scholars' of Sherlock Holmes: Morely, Starr, etc. and I have to say, these men needed more fresh air.
I'm sort of kidding, but sort of not - reading the annotations is fascinating. These men treat Holmes as though he were not only a real life historical figure, but a static one. The dichotomy is surreal. For example, Baring-Gould discusses the furniture in the flat, and the it seems that if Holmes had been a real person, these men (and yes, they're all almost without exception, men) expected him to have never, ever changed or moved any of the furniture.
Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Blue Carbuncle, as I always do, though the annotations included quite a few snide comments by one Magistrate S. Tupper Bigelow, who impressed me as a complete prat, who needed to be reminded it's a story and even Conan Doyle was allowed to take creative liberties. There was also a whole discussion on whether or not Doyle intended to use the word commute and whether or not it implied Holmes had royal blood. That made me roll my eyes and cry 'oh, horse sh*t' loud enough to make MT laugh. Overall though, the rest of the annotations were thoroughly interesting, if not always informative, and they gave me a deeper context for enjoying a story that's already a firm favorite of mine.