The Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1, by Arthur Conan Doyle, is a huge book. It’s got three novels and 23 short stories. Obviously, I can’t tell you about all of them. But I can tell you about my favorites and least favorites. A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four are the two first Holmes novels, and they’re meh compared to the later short stories. The Red-headed League is an inventive short story. Agatha Christie seems to “borrow” from The Man with the Twisted Lip with her story The Disappearence of Mr. Davenheim. Silver Blaze confuses me. The Reigate Puzzle is a great one. The Final Problem is a unconvincing fake death. And, finally, The Hound of The Baskervilles is a fantastic novel with a surprising (at least to me) climax.
Holmes is a very realistic character in personality. He’s got vices and virtues. He’s nowhere near perfect. In fact, he’s pretty flawed, when you think about it. Like his drug addiction. Yep, Sherlock’s a cocaine user. (Of course, now-illegal drugs were legal at the time, so it was a vice instead of a crime.) He also has no problem with keeping his cigars in his slippers. (Mmm…foot flavored.) So I wouldn’t say he’s a neat freak. Sherlock has two sides, too: the crime-solving side and the regular side. In that way, he’s a lot like a superhero or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
But Holmes’ mystery-solving techniques don’t seem realistic to me, even though they were largely taken from real life. Holmes deduced some amazing things about Watson’s brother’s watch. “He was a man of untidy habits – very untidy and careless. He was left with good prospects, but he threw away his chances, lived for some time in poverty with occasional short intervals of prosperity, and finally, taking to drink, he died.”, says Holmes. All that from a watch? It seems crazy, but when you read how he figures it out… “I began by stating that your brother was careless. When you observe the lower part of that watch-case you notice that it is not only dinted in two places but it is cut and marked all over from the habit of keeping other hard objects, such as coins or keys, in the same pocket. Surely it is no great feat to assume that a man who treats a fifty-guinea watch so cavalierly must be a careless man. Neither is it a very far-fetched inference that a man who inherits one article of such value is pretty well provided for in other respects.”, says Sherlock. As Watson says, “It is clear as a daylight.”
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Vol. 1 is almost as good as Agatha Christie, but with less twists and turns. Holmes is an equal character to Poirot, and maybe even a better one than him. Dingdingding! I think I’ve found a mystery on par with Christie! Woohoo! I recommend this for everyone who likes mysteries. Oh, and buy Vol. 2 also. And we’ll end on a fun fact: Did you know that the crazily quoted “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Holmes only says once? Weird, huh?