In case you didn’t notice, I’ve changed my weekly posts to Wednesdays from Mondays. It just works out better for my schedule and who doesn’t want more hump day posts right?! Oh, and Happy Canada Day! Alrighty, moving on.
“You see, but you do not observe.”
ebook, 282 pages.
Read from May 27 to June 05, 2015.
Alright, don’t hate me, but this is the very first piece of work that I’ve EVER read by Sir Author Conan Doyle. I’ve been exposed to his work in a variety of other mediums (mostly movies) but this is the first time I’ve ever endeavored with the original. I’m actually surprised how well the latest Hollywood movies with Robert Downey Jr. captured Sherlock and Watson’s characters practically perfectly. I mean, the movies are by far more action packed but the overall feel that comes from the books is still there.
What surprised me about this book the most was its format. I had no idea that the book was written in a string of short stories. The stories are in chronological order but they are separated by each case that Sherlock and Watson take. Like the most recent movies, the whole book is also narrated by Watson. Sherlock, while not actually a detective, he is respected by the police and has a substantial reputation and attracts a variety of reputable clients. Not that it matters to Sherlock, it’s all about the intrigue of their case. From the King of Bohemia, Dukes, ladies in distress, and prominent business men, they’re all looking for Sherlock’s help to solve their strange and particular problems. From issues of scandal and reputation, to stories of curiosity and love.
In terms of the most curious plot, that title would have to go to The Red-Headed League. A gentleman, with flaming red hair inquires Sherlock to investigate a special league for red headed men to which he has recently taken up employment with. The work itself requires him to write out portions of an encyclopedia and the gentleman finds the whole situation to be very suspicious. The result of this story is rather amusing. However my favourite story is the one the book opens with, A Scandal in Bohemia, in which the King of Bohemia is requiring Sherlock to recover a photograph from one of his previous lovers in order to avoid scandal before he is married to someone else. Admittedly I liked this story the best because Sherlock gets out witted by a woman! This woman becomes the infamous Irene Adler:
“To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen…. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.”
Having Sherlock fail from time to time also makes his stories easier to read and comprehend as while Sherlock is a genius, his rare failures still show us that he is still human.
Admittedly, Sir Arthur is a pretty decent mystery writer. I found myself thinking that I knew the outcome to story and how the mystery was going to be unraveled, only to be to be fooled at the end. Some of the stories are almost a but overkill in their complexity but are still great reads. I actually really enjoyed the short story format and found it really appropriate for the book. Watson is able to tie the cases together nicely as well by adding a few tidbits about his personal life and his close relationship with infamous but curious Sherlock Holmes.
Sir Author has created some fascinating characters that are very memorable. This book is witty, humorous and overall entertaining. I think that this book would appeal to wide range of readers, from mystery lovers to young adults. I look forward to working my way through Sir Author’s entire collection on Sherlock Holmes.