Book Review

Book Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Title: The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesBook Review - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Series:  Sherlock Holmes: Book 3

Publisher: George Newnes

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Detective Fiction

First Publication: 1892

Language: English

Major Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson, Inspector Lestrade, Irene Adler

Setting Place: late 19th century London

Narration: First person

Preceded by: The Sign of the Four

Followed by: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes


Book Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the series of short stories that made the fortunes of the Strand magazine, in which they were first published, and won immense popularity for Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

The detective is at the height of his powers and the volume is full of famous cases, including ‘The Red-Headed League’, ‘The Blue Carbuncle’, and ‘The Speckled Band’. Although Holmes gained a reputation for infallibility, Conan Doyle showed his own realism and feminism by having the great detective defeated by Irene Adler – the woman – in the very first story, ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’


Book Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes collects the first twelve Sherlock Holmes stories, originally published in The Strand magazine throughout 1891-1892. The first story in the collection, “A Scandal in Bohemia,” is the story that made Holmes and his creator a household name.

What this collection offers is a great look into the character of Holmes as a master of solving what seems to be the unsolvable: puzzling crimes, murders, mistaken identities and generally mysterious circumstances. Doyle really sets the bar and precedent for the detective genre with Holmes as his lead. Many mysteries in contemporary film and book have been influenced in some manner by Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

“As a rule, the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.”

Some of the highlights in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle:

In “A Scandal in Bohemia”, Sherlock Holmes employs disguises in attempts to find a photograph that could ruin the potential marriage of the King of Bohemia. This story has a light mood and it is enjoyable to see Holmes battle wits with Irene Adler.

“The Boscombe Valley Mystery” has Holmes trying to prove the innocence of James McCarthy, whose father was found dead under odd circumstances. Holmes goes to Hatherly Farm, the scene of the murder, to investigate.

“The Man with the Twisted Lip”—Holmes and Watson try to discover the whereabouts of Neville St. Clair, who has disappeared without a trace after last being seen in, of all places, an opium den. Many signs point to a mysterious and deformed beggar as the lead culprit. Holmes’ investigation takes them into the dangerous East End opium den.

“It’s a wicked world, and when a clever man turns his brain to crime it is the worst of all.”

I enjoyed “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” the most. It is a closed-room mystery at hand for Holmes to solve, as one woman’s sister dies under the most unusual and remarkable circumstances. With seemingly no explanation for the murder and no real clue as to a suspect, Holmes and Watson go to the room where the murder happened. The suspense and tension in the dark room towards the conclusion was top notch.

Also included: “The Red-Headed League”, “A Case of Identity”, “The Five Orange Pips”, “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”, “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb”, “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor”, “The Adventure of Beryl Coronet”, and “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.”

Holmes’ methods of deducing are almost always fascinating and entertaining. He is an astute and keen observer of human behavior, and pays attention to every detail in his surroundings. Watson makes for a great sidekick and ally to Sherlock Holmes, and his narration really makes these stories tick and work in a way that would be much less effective with an outside narrator.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle is a wonderful collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, some of the most popular out there. A collection like this is the best way to start reading Holmes. Sherlock Holmes’ fans will want to also check out A Study in Scarlet as well as The Hound of the Baskervilles, full length novels.

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