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?