Whenever I have struggled to sleep recently I have found myself in the lounge pondering if I want to carry on reading a current book or start a new one. Quite often I end up wanting an easy read and something that I know that is going to be enjoyable enough to go through so the Sherlock Holmes ends up coming out but of course once it is started and the sleepy waves come over me it ends up becoming another book to jumble as an ongoing read.
But where this is a series of short and novella length stories they are super quick to be able to go through and it’s possible to read about one dramatic mystery that needs solving before reading another book. For me switching between books is something that I usually tend to avoid but when each ‘chapter’ of something like The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is an individual story it actually makes it better to switch in and out to appreciate each mystery without them blending together.
This book was originally expected to be one of the final adventures of Sherlock Holmes but when they were originally published in print each week and readers found out that they would be coming to an end they were bitterly disappointed and begged for Holmes to make a return in their lives. Eventually more stories and events follow and they come together to create enough to make another four books in the series but there is certainly a shift in Conan Doyle’s style after this book. Knowing how this book ends and the way that Holmes is essentially written off by the author is extraordinary and I can see why it would leave readers of the time in such complete disbelief given this was essentially their equivalent to Eastenders or some other soap opera.
There is a part of this book though that starts to grind on my gears a little bit. The way that other mysteries are mentioned in passing but always referenced in a way of them not being able to be discussed because of them being such a key part of national or international security risks is such a cop out. These stories are always regarding a royal family or something similar and it becomes much more obvious that Conan Doyle just cannot figure out how to do the story in a way that doesn’t cause offence or make a mockery of a certain group. Of course, having these stories mentioned gave room for Conan Doyle to return to them in the future but they actually opened up the world and as a result a lot of wannabe Conan Doyle’s have aimed to recreate the style by expanding on these stories (most not done very well) in book form as well as games companies trying to enter the universe with PC games getting the player to act as the famous detective.
Otherwise this book continues to impress me as much as the rest of the series has done so far. It is always a pleasure to read them and this is an example of how fiction can stand the test of time and still be relatable and captivating to a modern day audience though naturally it being such a well known character some of the mystery and shock is lost along the way.