Monday, February 21, 2011



The impossibly clever Holmes solves mysteries, big and small, using his keen eye for detail and his nearly supernatural powers of deduction.


These stories, told from the perspective of Holmes' friend Dr. Watson, are just plain fun. Holmes solves his mysteries in approximately the same way each time, but the cases themselves are actually very different. They come from all sorts of interesting characters and Holmes (almost) always saves the day.

The twelve adventures can each be read independently, although Watson sometimes references earlier cases in the later stories. The good thing about reading them all at once is that you develop a fleshed out picture of Holmes' singular character. He keeps odd hours, goes to violin concerts between cases, and makes it his business to know everything about everyone, without being impressed by anything.

Holmes and Watson are characters that I've known by reputation for a long time, but this is the first time I've read any of their stories. Sometimes beloved characters do not live up to their hype, but in this case I was not disappointed. I was duly impressed by Holmes' abilities and charmed by Watson's voice.


This is a cool website with everything you ever wanted to know about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


Free Kindle edition (the complete collection of everything Doyle ever wrote about Holmes is about $1)


When you finally meet a character or read a book that you've known by reputation for a long time do they live up to your expectations? Does anyone have a good example?


  1. Great post, glad you enjoyed the book. I have to read them again since I read them when I was 10 or so.

    In answer to your question, in books the characters usually live up to my expectations, in movies.. not so much

  2. +JMJ+

    Interesting question! I don't remember my first reaction to Sherlock Holmes the character, but his mysteries were quite a let-down for me. Coming off G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown stories, I expected Doyle's to be much trickier--but I managed to figure out every last one of the first ten or so. After that, I stopped reading.

  3. I've never read any Sherlock Holmes, but as you say, he is a character I'm very familiar with. One day...

    And I agree with Man of la Book. I'm usually not let down by the characters in the books (although I'm sure it has happened) but moreso in movies.

  4. I do like the Sherlock Holmes stories, I just think Sherlock Holmes is impossibly smug and very annoying! He usually reveals some obscure detail at the end that he didn't tell Watson (and the reader) earlier that was the key to the whole thing.

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  6. First time reading this blog and I think you capture the Sherlock Holmes collection well.

    In regards to the Sherlock Holmes character, I actually think I found him very much like I was expecting. But that was only due to recently watching some of the more modern takes on Sherlock.

    Previously, whilst biased by what I had seen in earlier TV dramatisations I am not sure I fully grasped how the character could be so arrogant and deviously clever at times.

    Watson however, was exactly like I had imagined, immensely likeable and a superb fictional author of the stories.

    As an additional note, I believe there are plenty more for free as Public Domain on Project Gutenberg if you are interested. I much more prefer the full novels.

  7. Thanks for the great comments everyone.

    Unfortunately this is a case where I saw the movie before reading the book (though I try not to do that) and I actually liked Holmes more in the book. There's something kind of delightful about his smug arrogance and nonchalance. I'll have to get started on the novels.


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