Reviewer: Ms Oh Waily
I read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes a good number of years ago as a teenager and enjoyed them. But they were essentially consigned to memory until I thought to revisit them after my earlier review of The Hound of the Baskervilles.
The adventures are a series of twelve, relatively, short stories. Most will set you back less than an hour to read and each is a little vignette of Holmesian deduction.
The twelve cases are:
- A Scandal in Bohemia
- The Adventure of the Red-Headed League
- A Case of Identity
- The Boscombe Valley Mystery
- The Five Orange Pips
- The Man with the Twisted Lip
- The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
- The Adventure of the Speckled Band
- The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
- The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
- The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
- The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
The most likely story that you would be familiar with is the first, A Scandal in Bohemia. It is in this piece that we meet ‘that woman’, Irene Adler. American opera singer, socialite and apparently a brilliant woman to have outwitted Mr. Holmes. Then you read the story, or listen on audiobook as I did, and you are left wondering at the idea that being observant and quick witted equals being a brilliant woman and a great opponent for the master deducer.
Oh how times have changed Sir Arthur, oh how they have changed.
Each of the succeeding stories brings out different mini-mysteries, some of which Holmes solves faultlessly while others like the Irene Adler case, are not so clear cut in the perpetrators being brought to justice. In some instances, it is a case of unmasking goings-on rather than actual crime.
I found the writing to be almost as good as The Hound of the Baskervilles, with just enough setting for each story before getting to the nitty-gritty of the various mysteries to be detected. Holmes’ deductions are sometimes obvious in advance of his explanations, other times not so much. And as I mentioned in my previous review, unlike the often portrayed superior attitude of Holmes to Watson in film versions, there is nothing to note of that in these stories either. In fact, he is quite complimentary and warm about his companion for the most part.
It is another pleasant read, or listen, that will not tax you. It is worthy of a place on the list as a good selection of the different types of mystery story and if you enjoy it enough you will find it to be the first of five Sherlock Holmes short(ish) story collections for you to hunt out. This one is the earliest, dated 1892, and was published ten years before The Hound of the Baskervilles but only two years after The Sign of Four.
If you find yourself enjoying the Victorian world of Holmes and Watson, I can only imagine reading the novels and short stories in published order, would give an even more rounded aspect on Conan Doyle’s characters. To do that, start at the beginning with A Study in Scarlet, and then check the list at the bottom of the page here at Wikipedia for published order.
I hope you enjoy this slice of Victoriana as much as I did.