Tuesday, January 11, 2022

On the Coffee Table: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Title: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes collects twelve short stories, originally published monthly in The Strand Magazine from 1891-92.  If the first three books are anything to go by, I prefer Holmes in short form: less exposition, more detective razzle dazzle.  Best of all, no long backstory tangents.

Each of the stories has been adapted to the screen since and they serve to establish both character and standard methods clearly.  In fact, you sort of get used to Holmes's way of thinking after a while, to a point where I solved several of the mysteries well before Watson had a clue.  That's not to say they're not still fun.  Furthermore, I appreciate the fact that some of the cases are not actually fully resolved.  Clever as he is, our hero is not infallible.

Forced to pick a favorite among the dozen, I'll go with the first: "A Scandal in Bohemia."  The story introduces Irene Adler, the rare worthy foil to Holmes.  Adler is popular in adaptations even though this is her only appearance in the original stories.  Violet Hunter in "The Adventure of Copper Beeches" is satisfying for similar reasons.  For a male writer of Victorian England, Doyle did surprisingly well by his female characters.