The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes (Review)

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Two iconic characters whose stories, until recently, I was totally unfamiliar with. Growing up I remember knowing there was a Sherlock Holmes but I never saw any movies or tv shows with him in it. It wasn’t until the movies with Robert Downey Jr. came out that Sherlock seemed to return to greater public consciousness.

(As a sidenote my recollections are about right. The most recent Holmes movie prior to the Downey one was in 1988, when I was 8, so I never would have heard of it. There was no television series for about as long.)

While the Downey movies were exciting, it was the BBC show Sherlock that got me hooked. Fantastic story-telling with compelling characters. While waiting around for season three of Sherlock, and surfing for free or cheap books on my e-reader, I decided to give the works of Holmes (by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, by the way) a shot.

Immediately I was impressed by how easy to read these stories are. Many people, myself included, seem to have a fear of reading old literature. Perhaps it is memories of assigned reading in high school. Whatever reason, old books tend to be harder to read then current bestsellers. Such old, difficult books are thus all the more worth reading then easy contemporary bestsellers, but that’s another story. The Sherlock stories, at any rate, are not difficult to read. Anyone who enjoys the Sherlock shows and movies and who wants to read more could certainly dive in.

I began reading these stories back in the fall. The nice thing about Sherlock is that most of the stories are short stories. So I read a few here and there and finally finished a few days ago. The four novels are the highlights (especially the first three, Study in Scarlet, Sign of the Four, Hounds of the Baskervilles). Many of the short stories are fantastic too. As you read them you will note some are disappointing and others seem familiar, as if Doyle was echoing himself. But overall, they are a treat.

Besides, you have two more years to wait for more Sherlock on BBC!

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