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Leslie S. Klinger

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Subject: The House of Silk, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Castle Dracula, Dracula the Un-dead, Sherlock Holmes
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Leslie S. Klinger

Leslie S. Klinger (born May 2, 1946, Chicago, Illinois) is an American attorney and writer. He is a noted literary editor and annotator of classic genre fiction, including the Sherlock Holmes stories and the novel Dracula as well as Neil Gaiman's The Sandman comics and the stories of H. P. Lovecraft.


He is the editor of The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, a three book edition of all of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes fiction with extensive annotations, "hailed as the definitive exegesis of Holmes and his times;"[1] the book won an Edgar Award. He also edited the scholarly ten-volume Sherlock Holmes Reference Library, a heavily annotated edition of the entire Sherlock Holmes canon, and The New Annotated Dracula, an annotated version of Bram Stoker's novel. In 2011, he co-edited with Laurie R. King The Grand Game, a two-volume collection of classical Sherlockian scholarship, published by The Baker Street Irregulars, and A Study in Sherlock, a collection of stories by all-star writers inspired by the Sherlock Holmes tales (Random House). Klinger and King edited another collection, In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, with more stories by great writers inspired by the Holmes canon, was published by Pegasus Books in 2014. Klinger also wrote a short story, "The Closing," for that collection, his first fiction to be published in book form.

The first two volumes of The Annotated Sandman, a four-volume edition of Neil Gaiman's award-winning The Sandman comics, for DC Comics, appeared in 2012;[2] the third volume was published in 2014. Klinger also edited The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft for Liveright/W. W. Norton, a massive illustrated collection of heavily-annotated stories, published in 2014. He announced that his next book (also for Norton) will be The New Annotated Frankenstein, to be published in October 2017, in time for the 200th anniversary of Shelley's work.

Klinger has also contributed introductions to numerous books of mystery and horror, written book reviews for the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and other periodicals, and contributed an essay on vampires and sex, called Love Bites, to Playboy.[3] He served as a consultant on the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey, Jr.[4][5] and on the sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, released in 2011, as well as a number of other film scripts and comic book adaptations of the Holmes and Dracula stories.

In 2011, Klinger edited two collections of classic fiction, In the Shadow of Dracula and In the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes, both from IDW. A third collection, In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Horror, 1810-1916, will be published by Pegasus Books in 2015.

Klinger recently announced that, together with Laura Caldwell, a well-known writer and law professor at Loyola University Chicago and founder-director of Life After Innocence, he will be editing an anthology tentatively titled Anatomy of Innocence, to be published by Liveright/W. W. Norton in 2016. The anthology will tell the stories of exonerees—individuals wrongfully incarcerated for crimes they did not commit—as told to major thriller writers. All profits will be donated to Life After Innocence.

Literary organizations

Klinger is a member of the Sherlock Holmes literary club called The Baker Street Irregulars, as well as numerous other Sherlockian societies. He served three terms as chapter president of the Southern California chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. He is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Horror Writers Association (and currently serves as the Treasurer of HWA), the Dracula Society, and the Transylvanian Society of Dracula.

He was the general editor of a number of books published by the Baker Street Irregulars (BSI), including the Manuscript Series, and is currently the general editor of the BSI's History Series. He has lectured frequently on Holmes, Dracula, and the Victorian world and has taught a number of courses for UCLA Extension on Sherlock Holmes. He also taught a course on "Dracula and His World" for UCLA Extension in November 2009.

Lawsuit against Conan Doyle Estate

In February 2013, Klinger filed a lawsuit against the Conan Doyle Estate, who demanded a license fee for the use of the Sherlock Holmes characters in a collection of stories In the Company of Sherlock Holmes. The book contains no content from any copyrighted Sherlock Holmes stories, so Klinger asked the U.S. District Court in Chicago to confirm the public domain status of Sherlock Holmes in the United States, since only ten of Conan Doyle's sixty stories are still under copyright and the definitive story elements (such as Holmes's bohemian habits, deductive reasoning and many supporting characters) were fully established in the public domain stories, and Klinger states that this is reason enough to allow anybody to use the characters freely in new fiction.[6][7]

In December 2013 Judge Rubén Castillo ruled that stories published prior to 1923 were in the public domain but that ten stories published after then were still under copyright.[8] The stories in the public domain consist of the four novels and 46 short stories.[8] Judge Castillo rejected a claim by the Conan Doyle estate that some aspects of Holmes in the pre-1923 stories were protected by copyright because they were "continually developed" through the protected ten stories, which will not enter the public domain until 2022.[8] The characters and events in the pre-1923 stories, including Holmes and Watson themselves, are free for use by any author or creator, while elements introduced in the copyrighted stories, such as Watson's rugby background with Blackheath and details of Holmes' retirement, remain protected by copyright law. In June 2014, in an opinion by Judge Richard Posner, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court decision in favor of Klinger, and confirmed the public domain status of the pre-1923 material.[9] In November 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a further appeal by the Conan Doyle Estate, making the Court of Appeals' verdict final.[10][11][12]


Klinger's awards for his editorial work include:


  • "Special Sherlock" (best Sherlockian book of the year) for Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes Reference Library, Vol. 1, (Sherlock Holmes: The Detective Magazine)


  • "Special Sherlock" (best Sherlockian book of the year) for The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes Reference Library, Vol. 4, (Sherlock Holmes: The Detective Magazine)


  • Edgar Award for "Best Critical/Biographical Work" for The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories, 2 vol. set (Mystery Writers of America)[13]
  • Macavity Award Shortlisted (Mystery Readers International)[14]
  • Anthony Award Shortlisted (Bouchercon World Mystery Convention)[15]
  • Agatha Award Shortlisted (Malice Domestic Convention)[16]
  • Quill Award Shortlisted in the Mystery/Thriller category (Quills Foundation)

2006: The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Novels


  • Bram Stoker Award Shortlisted for "Best Nonfiction" for The Annotated Sandman, Vol. 1 (Horror Writers Association)[17]


Klinger was born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 2, 1946. He received a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley in 1967 and a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley in 1970. It was in law school that he developed his interest in Holmes, leading him to amass a collection of thousands of books about the fictional detective.[1] He practices law in the fields of tax, estate planning, and business in Los Angeles, California. He lives in Malibu, California, with his wife Sharon Flaum Klinger, who is a dealer in first-day-covers.


  1. ^ a b "The Age, January 30, 2005". January 30, 2005. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Annotated Sandman". November 20, 2012.  
  3. ^ "". September 12, 2009. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ "'"Exclusive: Author Leslie Klinger on Annotating 'Dracula. FEARnet. September 17, 2010. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ Lauren A. E. Schuker (September 11, 2009). "Robert Downey Jr. Talks About Playing Sherlock Holmes -". Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ 3 DAYS (September 13, 2013). "'"Conan Doyle Estate: Denying Sherlock Holmes Copyright Gives Him 'Multiple Personalities. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Conan Doyle Estate Is Horrified That The Public Domain Might Create 'Multiple Personalities' Of Sherlock Holmes". Techdirt. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c McCarthy, Tom (December 27, 2013). "Sherlock Holmes is public property … but steer clear of Watson's second wife".  
  9. ^ Gardner, Eriq (June 16, 2014). "Conan Doyle Estate Loses Appeal Over 'Sherlock Holmes' Rights".  
  10. ^ Nate Pedersen (November 4, 2014). "Supreme Court Refuses Appeal, 50 Sherlock Holmes Works Officially in Public Domain". Fine Books & Collections. 
  11. ^ "Case of Sherlock Holmes copyright closes after US supreme court refuses appeal". The Guardian. 3 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Conan Doyle Estate v. Klinger, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 14-316
  13. ^ Edgar Awards Database, Mystery Writers of America, retrieved June 3, 2014 
  14. ^ Macavity Awards, Mystery Readers International, retrieved June 3, 2014 
  15. ^ "Bouchercon World Mystery Convention : Anthony Awards Nominees". October 2, 2003. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  16. ^ Past Agatha Award Winners & Nominees, Malice Domestic Convention, retrieved June 3, 2014 
  17. ^ Past Bram Stoker Nominees & Winners, Horror Writers Association, retrieved June 3, 2014 

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