Sherlock Holmes – a rare 1884 serial may change our understanding of how the Sherlock Holmes character was created.

Old Marvel, The Scientific Detective! (front Cover)

Joe Rainone, popular fiction collector extraordinaire, made an important discovery among his most rare items. A serialized story in an 1884 American publication features a very Sherlock-like character, and this was published three years before the first Sherlock Holmes novel was first printed.

British and American story papers and dime libraries were distributed on both sides of the Atlantic. Could it be possible that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, read Old Marvel, the Scientific Detective? Decide for yourself when you discern the similarities of the two fictional detectives. Joe Rainone has provided a thorough introduction to offer examples for the reader to consider.

This is not a scandal and there is no suggestion of plagiarism, but there are some striking similarities between the earlier character of Old Marvel and Sherlock Holmes. It seems naive to think that all the sources of inspiration that led to Sherlock Holmes were decades old when the first story was published. The rediscovery of this story may add to our understanding of the origins for the Sherlock Holmes character.

Also in this book is the first reprinting of the rarest serialization of the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, published in The Illustrated Home Guest during 1892. This was transcribed from the only known complete copy of this serialization.

Original wood engravings from both novels are included, many on full pages of this large 8.5 inch by 11 inch book!

Buy your copy from

The Mysterious Bookshop

Park Road Books

or online:

Now available on Amazon in a handsome Trade Paperback or Kindle eBook!


For the Old Marvel Kickstarter campaign just Fifty Copies of the book were custom printed by Wert Bookbinding in hard cover with dust jacket. Of those, Joe Rainone and I have each got just a handful (perhaps six copies) of these rare editions available. Each book is numbered and there will be no more of that special limited edition. I offer those that I have at $99 each plus shipping, the same price as they were during the campaign. Contact Joe or myself directly, thanks. Please put “Old Marvel” in the subject, thank you. Mark Williams,, Joe Rainone,

Limited Edition Hardback in dust jacket
Handsome mahogany-colored buckram with gold stamping front and spine.

Super-collector Joe Rainone has unearthed a rare masterpiece of fascinating historical importance and Sherlockian interest in this new Old Marvel book. Much of the magic that Doyle put into Sherlock Holmes first appeared in this Old Marvel story, a fine tale that no Holmes fan should miss.”

    Gary Lovisi, MWA Edgar nominated author for his Sherlock Holmes story, “The Adventure of the Missing Detective”

Gary Lovisi reviewed Old Marvel, The Scientific Detective! on YouTube:

Back – Spine – Front cover

Look for your copy on Amazon or ask at one of our premium retailers.

Frontispiece (One of over 20 illustrations) and Old Marvel title page
An interior illustration (One of over 20 illustrations) and a chapter head
A Study in Scarlet, frontispiece and title

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