Leslie S. Klinger

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Leslie S. Klinger (born May 2, 1946 in 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 novels Dracula and Frankenstein as well as Neil Gaiman's The Sandman comics, Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbons's Watchmen graphic novel, 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, with an introduction by John le Carré. 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 with an introduction by Neil Gaiman. 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, which 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. Klinger and King edited a third volume of stories for Pegasus, entitled Echoes of Sherlock Holmes published in 2016 and their fourth collection, tentatively titled For the Sake of the Game, is due from Pegasus in December 2018.

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, and the fourth volume appeared in 2015. Watchmen: The Annotated Edition was edited by Klinger for DC Comics with Dave Gibbons, using extensive material from Alan Moore's original scripts; the book was published in late 2017.

Klinger also edited The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft for Liveright/W. W. Norton, a massive illustrated collection of heavily-annotated stories, with an introduction by Alan Moore, published in 2014 to critical acclaim. A second annotated volume of Lovecraft tales, tentatively titled The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft: Beyond the Mythos, with an introduction by Victor LaValle, will be published by Liveright in 2019. The New Annotated Frankenstein, also from Liveright/W. W. Norton, with an introduction by Guillermo del Toro was published in 2017.

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] A collection of all of his essays from 2007 through 2016, titled Baker Street Reveries, appeared in 2018 from Wessex Press. 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. In 2015, a third collection, In the Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe: Classic Horror, 1810-1916, was published by Pegasus Books. A fourth volume, In the Shadow of Agatha Christie: Classic Crime Fiction by Forgotten Women Authors, 1850-1917 was published by Pegasus in January 2018. At present, Klinger is completing the first of a new series of annotated mysteries for Pegasus Books. The first volume, Classic Crime Fiction of the 1920's, includes House Without a Key (the first Charlie Chan novel by Earl Derr Biggers), Red Harvest (the first novel-length Continental Op mystery by Dashiell Hammett), The Roman Hat Mystery (the first Ellery Queen novel), The Benson Murder Case (the first Philo Vance novel by S. S. Van Dine), and Little Caesar by W. R. Burnett, the basis for the first great gangster film. The book is due out in October 2018.

Klinger, together with Laura Caldwell, a well-known writer and law professor at Loyola University Chicago and founder-director of Life After Innocence, edited an anthology titled Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted published by Liveright/W. W. Norton in March 2017. The anthology tells the stories of exonerees—individuals wrongfully incarcerated for crimes they did not commit—as told to major mystery and thriller writers. The volume is introduced by Scott Turow and Barry Scheck and also contains a previously-unpublished essay by the renowned playwright Arthur Miller on a wrongful conviction case. All authors' proceeds will be donated to Life After Innocence.

Literary organizations[edit]

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 Biography 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 Ltd[edit]

In February 2013, Klinger filed a copyright lawsuit against Conan Doyle Estate Ltd, a UK-based private company, which had demanded a license fee for the use of the Sherlock Holmes characters in a collection of stories In the Company of Sherlock Holmes. In the United States in 2013, only ten of Conan Doyle's sixty original Sherlock Holmes stories were in copyright, and the proposed stories relied only on aspects of the characters defined in public domain stories (such as Holmes's bohemian habits, deductive reasoning and many supporting characters).[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 Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. 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 Conan Doyle Estate Ltd, 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 Nominated (Mystery Readers International)[14]
  • Anthony Award Nominated (Bouchercon World Mystery Convention)[15]
  • Agatha Award Nominated (Malice Domestic Convention)[16]
  • Quill Award Nominated in the Mystery/Thriller category (Quills Foundation)

2006: The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Novels


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


  • Bram Stoker Award Nominated for "Best Nonfiction" for The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft (Horror Writers Association)[17]


  • Anthony Award for Best Anthology for In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon, co-edited with Laurie R. King (Bouchercon World Mystery Convention)[18]
  • Silver Falchion Award for Best Anthology for In the Company of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon, co-edited with Laurie R. King (Killer Nashville Mystery Convention)[19]


  • Silver Falchion Award Nominated for Best Anthology for Echoes of Sherlock Holmes: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon, co-edited with Laurie R. King (Killer Nashville Mystery Convention)[20]


  • World Fantasy Award Nominated for Special Award--Professional for The New Annotated Frankenstein(World Fantasy Convention)[21]


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 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, their dog Jenny and their cat Mr. Giles.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "The Age, January 30, 2005". Theage.com.au. January 30, 2005. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  2. ^ "The Annotated Sandman". www.amazon.co.uk. November 20, 2012. ISBN 978-1401235666. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  3. ^ "killerfilm.com". killerfilm.com. 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 - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  6. ^ "Conan Doyle Estate: Denying Sherlock Holmes Copyright Gives Him 'Multiple Personalities'". The Hollywood Reporter. September 13, 2013. 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". The Guardian.
  9. ^ Gardner, Eriq (June 16, 2014). "Conan Doyle Estate Loses Appeal Over 'Sherlock Holmes' Rights". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
  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". Bouchercon.info. October 2, 2003. Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  16. ^ Past Agatha Award Winners & Nominees, Malice Domestic Convention, archived from the original on April 12, 2010, retrieved June 3, 2014
  17. ^ a b Past Bram Stoker Nominees & Winners, Horror Writers Association, retrieved June 3, 2014
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 7, 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ http://www.killernashville.com/2015-silver-falchion-finalists/
  20. ^ https://killernashville.com/awards/previous-award-winners/#2017/
  21. ^ http://www.wfc2018.org/nominations2018.php/

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