The Maniac Collector's Inbox
Sherlocking in Finland
I recently bought a May 11, 1935 copy of The Saturday Review of Literature. In his “Bowling Green” column, Christopher Morley mentions that someone traveling in Finland found a translation of Sherlock Holmes in the native language. There is a picture of the book and it was for this reason that I bought the magazine. I thought the book mentioned in the article would be a nice addition to my collection so once the magazine arrived I started searching the Internet for a copy. This proved more difficult and I have yet to find a copy of Sininen Kiiltokivi.
Using my favorite Internet website, Google Translate, I quickly discovered that the title Sininen Kiiltokivi means Blue Gloss Stone. I feel confident that this book had “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” as one of its stories. However, this is where my success in finding this book ended and another opportunity reared its head. In the process of searching I did find the online Finnish auction site Huuto.net (http://www.huuto.net/fi/). A search on Doyle brought back over two-hundred hits! There were several books from the 30’s. One that caught my eye was laivasto-sopimus, whichtranslates to Fleet Agreement or as I expect, The Naval Treaty. The technicolor cover jumped out at me and I knew I had to have this book.
Once again using Google Translate (GT), I started copying large sections of Huuto.net into the Finnish to English section of GT. Much to my delight and surprise, I managed to register and create a username and password. Next, I successfully placed a bid on the book. The next thing I know, I receive an email telling me that I had won the auction. I managed to type a response to the seller, in English; translate it into Finnish as well as explaining to the seller how it is that I am able to write to him in Finnish. The thing I know is I have an answer back from Finland in English. The seller is willing to accept US. Dollars for the book or I can wire-transfer money directly to his account.
I know that this method of banking is widespread in Europe but it is very cost-prohibitive here in the States. The book cost me 25 Euros but the seller offered it for $35 and this included shipping costs. It cost me $15.62 to send the payment registered mail. My bank would have charged $45 to wire money directly. This was such a painless process, I bid on two more books and won them as well. I repeated the same steps as before and I am happy to report the same results. GT has made dealing like this much easier. I can fill in the gaps of my Finnish collection now that I have a place that I can deal with such ease.
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