I’m not going to list all of the titles of Sherlock Holmes. I’m pretty sure it’s this collection that I read, but it was only 99 cents on kindle. Anyway, on to the main event!
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Publisher: Lordy. Every house has probably published a Sherlock Holmes story at one point or another now.
Difficulty: Like many “classics,” it’s just adjusting to the writing and vocabulary because it’s unfamiliar. By the end I was racing through and loving every minute.
Time to completion: unknown. I started reading these last August, before I moved, and finished them maybe two or three weeks ago. The joy of short stories!
Rating: 10 stars. 10 shiny, mysterious, impossible stars.
I loved these novels and stories. I started reading Sherlock Holmes because like so many of the greats, it’s free on kindle. So sue me. For the record, it was before Sherlock the BBC awesomeness blew up in the U.S. That might make me a book hipster?
ANYway, what happens in the books is that stuff happens and then Sherlock Holmes figures it out and then Dr. Watson writes about it. Over and over and over again. Which you think would be boring, but totally isn’t! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (you must use his whole name) is a genius. I don’t know how he came up with his famous consulting detective (but I might get more insight into that! I’m reading Arthur and George by Julian Barnes next), but it’s the clever word play and the snarky commentary that kept pulling me back in. Of course, we find some of literature’s most famous quotes here:
“We must fall back upon the old axiom that when all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,”
” ‘Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?’
‘To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.’
‘The dog did nothing in the night-time.’
‘That was the curious incident,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes.”
“I have usually found that there was method in his madness.”
“You know my methods, Watson.”
and of, course,
” ‘Elementary,’ said he.” -what?! “Elementary, my dear Watson,” isn’t a quote?! NO, it isn’t! It’s a misquote! But luckily all those other ones are real, which make them much more fun.
All of those quotes are super well known, and if you’re saying, “I’ve never heard of any of those!” you probably live under a rock. Here are a few more quotes that aren’t as well-known, but should still be well-loved:
” ‘From the point of view of the criminal expert,’ said Mr. Sherlock Holmes, ‘London has become a singularly uninteresting city since the death of the late lamented Professor Moriarty.’ “
” ‘You know, Watson, I don’t mind confessing to you that I have always had an idea that I would have made a highly efficient criminal. This is the chance of my lifetime in that direction.’ “
” ‘Besides, on general principles it is best that I should not leave the country. Scotland Yard feels lonely without me, and it causes an unhealthy excitement among the criminal classes.’ “
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle creates this magnificently conceited hero, with a sidekick you want to hate for being such a pushover, but he’s so opinionated that you can’t help but love him, and the two of them create this back and forth that any reader should feel fortunate to be a part of. It’s like reading Joss Whedon or Steven Moffat, but with more class. And history. Mr. Sherlock Holmes is actually quite an ass, but you can’t help but follow his every word, just like Watson does. And Dr. Watson allows the reader to see what is happening without taking away the mystery, because he never has any idea what the freak is happening either.
What about Sherlock, the amazing kick-ass BBC version written by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss? I love it. It’s so true to the books and yet is brilliantly updated. There are some changes, but that’s because the writers are right, sometimes the stories just end and it doesn’t work for a medium like t.v. (Like Irene Adler- the original ending would make a really, really boring t.v. show, yet I LOVED “A Scandal in Belgravia,” based on the original story “A Scandal in Bohemia.” The t.v. show was much more like the book, while the Robert Downy Jr. movie just happened to have a female character with the same name, and that was about it.) I think it’s a great way to introduce people to the stories, and if more people are reading them, so much the better!
Everyone should read Sherlock Holmes! You can read a novel or a short story, take your pick. Or read them all! Look for the snarky bits and the social commentary and the funny parts and sad parts and romantic parts and the adventure parts and…you get the idea.