I read a few Sherlock Holmes books recently for one of my courses at Uni and I’ve really enjoyed them so far. I wanted to write about my thoughts so far but since I haven’t finished the series and probably won’t for a while I thought it would be a good time to start writing posts based on my first impressions. I’ll be writing a new post per week whenever I start reading a new author/series/book! If my impression changes by the end, I’ll be sure to update you!
Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series includes 4 novels and 54 short stories. I didn’t get anywhere near finishing the entire series, but I read 4 of the short stories, including:
- A Scandal in Bohemia
- The Red Headed League
- The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
- The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes short stories are well written and a pleasure to read. I don’t enjoy standalone short stories at all, but I love reading short stories as part of a series. I didn’t expect to like the stories because of the fact that they’re set in late 19th Century London, but in actuality the stories feel almost modern. The language is contemporary and easy to understand and the use of trains as a means of transport is relevant in London today. There are numerous London landmarks mentioned in the stories, so having lived in London my whole life means that I recognised a lot of the places in the stories too.
Contextual interest aside, I also loved how short and quick the short stories were to read – they were all action with limited dragging around. Each short story has it’s own unique investigation and took me less than 30 minutes to read. So it almost felt as if I was watching an episode of a show rather than reading a book. I love this type of reading because it means I can get my fix of Sherlock Holmes, see an investigation from the beginning to completion and all without having to dedicate too much time to it!
My favourite short story of the 4 is definitely The Red Headed League. Like Sherlock and John I thought the client’s story was completely hilarious. I won’t spoil it for you, but the result of the investigation was brilliant.
Aside from the short stories, I also read The Sign of Four a few years ago but I don’t remember enjoying it as much the short stories. I put this down to the fact that I’ve become a fan of the BBC’s Sherlock series over the past couple of years. I’m not a hardcore fan at all, but I do enjoy watching the show whenever it’s on TV. My sister and I watched season 3 recently so the season was still fresh in my mind as I was reading. You can imagine my glee whilst reading the short stories and realising that A Scandal in Bohemia, and The Man with the Twisted Lip corresponded with the past two seasons of the show! If you haven’t watched an episode of the show yet, I highly recommend it!
If you aren’t interested in the show, you can definitely enjoy The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes without watching the series! I’ve always enjoyed books and shows with a bit of mystery, though I haven’t really read any detective novels until recent years. I enjoy watching investigation shows that are a little more light-hearted with a little humour like Castle, so the investigations in Sherlock Holmes were right up my alley. Humour and a little bromance makes for good reading!
I definitely recommend The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to anybody that reads! If you don’t have much time, check out the short stories. If you have time, check out the novels too!