This book sees the style of the Sherlock Holmes stories change a little as they become shorter and more like novellas instead of it being one book to a story. It works rather well as it allows for plenty of detail but keeps each story fast paced.
It is done in a way that gives the reader the feeling that each adventure is fairly recently. A quickly bundled together collection of stories that Watson was desperate to share with the outside world. Holmes is not so impressed with the publication of his adventures because of the way it makes them feel rather fanciful but also because it makes his job of going about undetected all the more challenging.
Traditionally many people think of Holmes as a murder solver or somebody discovering the answers to the biggest crimes committed but in this collection of adventures not a single one of the stories turns out to be a crime under law. Morally dubious and ethically questionable certainly but nothing that could get anybody locked up given a court judgement. This is one of the things that really helps to refresh Holmes and the series itself as it shows how exciting none crimes can be to Watson and the reader but how they can be equally frustrating or painfully mind-numbingly boring to Holmes.
The further on in the series we dive the more it seems that Holmes has an appetite for crime that can never really be satisfied. The detective always discusses the need to start at the end of the story and work back to the beginning in such a way that the observational reader has to question whether his ability to understand crimes is based solely on a genius mind or a mind filled with criminality as well.
On top of there being the shift in the style that the stories are written, perhaps whilst Conan Doyle tried to flesh out a bigger story to keep the fans of Sherlock entertained suitably, it also sees a change in the dynamic between Holmes and Watson now that Watson is living a married life and has returned to being a professional doctor. Whilst the switch does not seem to impact upon the stories there is a sense, when pausing a second, that Watson disappears from his home and patients for days on end to help solve and observe these bizarre cases something which it seems hard to imagine Mrs Watson being satisfied with.
It is a series that I am still enjoying and will happily move on to the next book to see what mysteries the unlikely pair uncover, how relationships will continue to develop and whether yet another person manages to escape Holmes’ grasp.
Have you read this book or any of the stories with it? Are you a bigger fan of the books, the modern TV show or some other adaptation of the classic mystery detective series? Let me know in the comments below.
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