Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

3581Title: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume 
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Genre: Mystery, classic

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:
Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created. Now, in two paperback volumes, Bantam presents all fifty-six short stories and four novels featuring Conan Doyle’s classic hero - a truly complete collection of Sherlock Holmes’s adventures in crime!
Volume I includes the early novel A Study in Scarlet, which introduced the eccentric genius of Sherlock Holmes to the world. This baffling murder mystery, with the cryptic word Rache written in blood, first brought Holmes together with Dr. John Watson. Next, The Sign of Four presents Holmes’s famous “seven percent solution” and the strange puzzle of Mary Morstan in the quintessential locked - room mystery.
Also included are Holmes’s feats of extraordinary detection in such famous cases as the chilling “ The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” the baffling riddle of “The Musgrave Ritual,” and the ingeniously plotted “The Five Orange Pips,” tales that bring to life a Victorian England of horse-drawn cabs, fogs, and the famous lodgings at 221B Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes earned his undisputed reputation as the greatest fictional detective of all time. 
I'm a little disappointed by the detective who inspired millions of fans and countless adaptations.

Some of the mysteries were great, but a lot of them were really random. It seems like Sherlock Holmes can solve entire mysteries in a glimpse, but enjoys making other people look stupid while they try frantically to piece together what he has known all along. I love that Sherlock Holmes is clever, but hate how he toys with and baits everyone around him. What was even more annoying was how Watson just fawned over him without any self-respect.

I know these stories were written in a different time period, but the amount of racism and sexism in the stories really bothered me. I think another reason I didn't connect with the original Sherlock Holmes is that the stories were a lot of exposition and then explanation of what happened, and there was hardly any suspense or character development. Again, I feel like this is just a different style of writing due to the time period.

I can definitely respect Dir Doyle for coming up with such clever solutions to mysteries and for creating a character that won the hearts of the world. I think I'll stick to adaptations from now on, though.

Have you ever been disappointed by a classic? What are your thoughts on Sherlock Holmes adaptations?

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  1. Sometimes stories age well, and other times...they just don't. It's unfortunate though because I always wonder what any author would accomplish if he or she were alive today. ACD didn't much like his creation Sherlock Holmes either and that's always bothered me too for some reason. I've only read a few of his stories but I remember them coming off as dated too and that always sucks because you feel like you can't enjoy the stories as much as you should :( It's like you said though: different writing styles (and beliefs) for different times.

  2. Yeah, I've heard the original Sherlock Holmes is disappointing, so I put off reading it even when I was excited at it being possibly good. It's hard to read a classic that's been rebranded so many times and you think you know it intimately, but then you realize the real thing isn't what you expected. I thought I might get a kick out of the Invisible Man (by H.G. Wells) a while ago, but the science behind it was... wacky to say the least.
    Great review, Kritika!
    ~Litha Nelle

  3. As much as I love these stories, there's a good chance that I wouldn't feel quite the same if I were to re-read them today. (Which is kind of why I don't really want to re-read them. Ever again. Though I do want the leather bound, super expensive copies.) When I first read these stories I was around ten years old and just loved them. In the intervening time, I've gotten a lot more critical and aware of...things. Although, I do remember the lack of character development bothering me even back then. At least you like the adaptations - which I will say, most are very different than the originals.


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