Wednesday 30 April 2014

Review on The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

In his consulting room in 221B Baker Street, consulting detective Sherlock Holmes receives a stream of clients all presenting him with baffling and bizarre mysteries to unravel. There is, for example, the man who is frightened for his life because of the arrival of an envelope containing five orange pips; there is the terrified woman who is aware that her life is in danger and cannot explain the strange whistling sounds she hears in the night' and there is the riddle of the missing butler and the theft of an ancient treasure. In the last story, there is the climatic battle between Holmes and his arch enemy, 'the Napoleon of Crime' Professor Moriarty. Holmes, with trusty Watson by his side, is equal to these and the other challenges in this splendid collection.

As I love the BBC TV show 'Sherlock' I thought that it would be a good idea to read the original stories, as the show is, let's just say very lacking in episode numbers. I had already read A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four and Hound of the Baskervilles, but this was the first time that I had read any of the Sherlock Holmes short stories. Each story is short enough to read in about half an hour, so they are great if you are interested in reading some of Doyle's work but do not want to commit to reading a novel length story.  I was interested in meeting some of the characters that are found in BBC Sherlock, but who I had not yet come across in previous works, such as Mycroft Homes and James Moriarty. As Moriarty is portrayed to be Sherlock's main enemy in many of the TV and film adaptations, I was quite surprised to find out that he was only present in the final story of the memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Instead of being the arch enemy that other media platforms show him to be, his main purpose seemed to be a plot device to enable the death of Sherlock Holmes.

 I enjoyed the stories, but my problem was that the majority of each story was spent with the client sitting in Baker Street explaining their case to Sherlock and Dr Watson. I realize that it is important to explain this, but as the stories are so short, I felt that this was taking up more time than it took for Sherlock to actually solve the case. The longer stories follow the same format, but I did not find them as problematic, as there was still plenty of content of Sherlock trying to solve the case. Overall I preferred the longer stories, as in some of the stories, I found the clients explaining what had happened to them slightly tedious, and the cases were solved in a few pages. The stories are enjoyable overall, but they follow the same basic format, so to avoid getting bored of them, I suggest not reading all twenty three stories in a short space of time.

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