Rating: 5 stars
Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created. Now, in two paperback volumes, Bantam presents all fifty-six short stories and four novels featuring Conan Doyle’s classic hero – a truly complete collection of Sherlock Holmes’s adventures in crime!
Volume I includes the early novel A Study in Scarlet, which introduced the eccentric genius of Sherlock Holmes to the world. This baffling murder mystery, with the cryptic word Rache written in blood, first brought Holmes together with Dr. John Watson. Next, The Sign of Four presents Holmes’s famous “seven percent solution” and the strange puzzle of Mary Morstan in the quintessential locked – room mystery. Also included are Holmes’s feats of extraordinary detection in such famous cases as the chilling “ The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” the baffling riddle of “The Musgrave Ritual,” and the ingeniously plotted “The Five Orange Pips,” tales that bring to life a Victorian England of horse-drawn cabs, fogs, and the famous lodgings at 221B Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes earned his undisputed reputation as the greatest fictional detective of all time.
As someone who’s never read any of Sherlock Holmes’s tales, this was such an enjoyable read for me. The first volume out of two that feature all of Holmes’ tales told from the perspective of his trusted friend Dr. Watson, each of these stories intrigued me in various ways. I wasn’t sure when I started if I would enjoy reading these stories because while I’m a fan of mysteries and crime, classics aren’t always enjoyable to me. I don’t know if its due to difference in writing style over the years, but some classics I have a difficult time reading. Luckily for me though, I found Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing enjoyable.
I believe what made this first volume of Sherlock Holmes so enjoyable to me was the characters themselves, especially Holmes and Watson. I loved their relationship throughout from the start as I feel like they both balance each other out. Holmes is the type of person most people normally wouldn’t be able to tolerate and I feel like Watson is the perfect person to handle all his quirks. From their introduction to each other, I knew they would become such wonderful friends and there would be so many tales of adventure to be told.
The way in which Watson tells of each of their adventures is marvelous. I especially enjoyed when the villain was caught hearing that person tell of why they committed their crime. I also enjoyed hearing Holmes and all of his deductions that he would make from some of the simplest things that most people wouldn’t ever think of. I found his knowledge of crime throughout so interesting, especially since he was the one who normally had everything figured out before the Scotland Yard detectives who would call on his aid. I feel like with a lot of these stories like I was there with Holmes and Watson, asking questions of those involved and trying to figure out who committed the crime and why.
What I also loved about reading these Sherlock Holmes stories was that not all of the crimes committed were murder. I love that there were all sorts of crimes committed throughout, some ending in a way which I as the reader didn’t at all expect. I found this to be interesting because it shows you Sherlock Holmes’s character and that he doesn’t always feel like a person needs to be brought to justice. I found that especially interesting because it makes you question his character and ethics even though he’s the one who ultimately solves all these crimes.
What I loved about hearing these stories told from Watson’s perspective is that I felt like as the reader, I was reading his personal journal regarding these cases he helped Holmes with. And I found myself extremely interested in hearing with each case what would happen next, even if the end result was unexpected to me. Some of my favorite cases from this first volume were the ones with a twist I didn’t see coming or the stories with interesting protagonists who came to Holmes looking for help.
I would say if I had to choose a criticism for this book it would be that there are so many cases Holmes solved that I know I won’t remember them all. But I don’t see that as too much of a problem here because I enjoyed reading this so much that I know I’ll be rereading it again in the future. For now though, I’ve already started reading the second Sherlock Holmes volume in this collection, which has the rest of his stories I’ve yet to read and am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on those as well when I have finished.
Thank you for those who’ve finished reading this post! Leave a comment below if you’re at all familiar with Sherlock Holmes or have any stories you’ve enjoyed just as much as I’m finding myself enjoying reading these.