March 23, 2013

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Can be found here

"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" is the first collection of short stories about the famous detective. And I think that after 2 novellas Conan Doyle finally found his style in mystery. The stories are not so complicated as his novellas, but they concentrate solely on the cases, without more than necessary background. I've read all of them sometime before, but not as a collection, and I didn't remember them well. So, just random thoughts about every story:

A Scandal in Bohemia
Why is everybody saying she was Holmes's love? That's not true at all! Their feelings are much deeper: she beat him in his own trade. That's why he asked for her photo and always remembered her - he actually tried to remember that there are people cleverer than him. Easy to forget in his situation, I believe =) I also think that this is a nod to Poe's "The Purloined Letter". Kudos for following the tradition!

The Red-headed League 
One of my favourite short stories ever! The situation looks so absurd in the beginning, yet as the plot unfolds, everything makes perfect sense. I guess this is what can be said about all S.H. stories, but this one is especially good!

A Case of Identity
Well, this one is strange and a bit creepy. And the aggrieved woman is so stupid. I mean, come on, if you meet a guy who wears beard, sunglasses, speaks in a whisper and avoids meeting your dad and decide to marry him, don't be surprised if he suddenly disappears before wedding!

The Boscombe Valley Mystery 
I like this one mainly because the justice triumphs! And it has some wild Australian pioneer history behind too!

The Five Orange Pips
Well, this one is scary and America is again portrayed as a crazy and dangerous place full of perversity. Seriously, first Mormons, now Ku Klux Klan... Sir Conan Doyle didn't have a very good opinion about America, did he?

The Man with the Twisted Lip
The story is not very believable here. Nor from technical, nor from economical point of view. And it has a lot of opium in it. Probably the weakest story in the collection.

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle 
This is a proper Christmas story, with a goose and a happy ending. If they were to make series, this story collection being one season, this episode would have a perfect timing too - in the middle of the book, right in time for Christmas! :)

The Adventure of the Speckled Band 
This story I remember very well, as I was very afraid of it when a child! I had bad dreams after reading it, was afraid to sleep near the wall, and when I watched an adaptation, I called my mom to hold my hand through the most horrible part. Now I'm more nostalgic than scared, but the story is still brilliant!

The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb 
OK, this one probably shares the place of the weakest story in the collection. The plot is just not very believable, and attempts to intentionally scare the reader toying with his hidden claustrophobia is foul play.

The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor 
Another marriage story and again America with its peculiarities. Although "rich bride migration" from America was a fact, and it is well-used here in the story.

The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
As in "The Boscombe Valley Mystery", here an unfairly accused young man is cleared of all charges. And the moral is that not everyone who looks guilty is guilty. I really like this kind of stories!

The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
Again, this kind of stories just don't happen in real life, and believability is important for me. But the beginning of the case, before all the crazy events unfold, is rather good.

So I am slowly reading through "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" when I'm in a mood. And I try not to hurry, as everything has its end, and I enjoy Sherlock Holmes stories so much that I want to prolong the pleasure of reading them! Next: "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" - another short story collection, which I'm really looking forward to!

Have you read some of these stories? What was your impression?

1 comment:

  1. I am reading this right now and enjoying it. Love your little random thoughts about each story and agree with you on the Irene Adler point. I thought she was his true love but not so from this story. He's captivated by her because she's the only woman who got the better of him. I was very surprised by the appearance of the KKK behind the pips story, still finishing that one.
    I look forward to finishing the book, i've really enjoyed it. Stopping by from the Back to the Classics Challenge.


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