Thursday, 24 November 2011

Review: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Title: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes #4)
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: September 27th, 2011 (First Published 1894)
Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Now that Dr. Watson is married, he sees less and less of Sherlock Holmes. However, his former flatmate still calls on him occasionally for assistance in interesting mysteries. In The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Watson and Sherlock encounter a stolen racehorse, an elaborate robbery, secret identities, murder and theft. Watson also finally meets Sherlock’s clever brother Mycroft, hears stories of Sherlock’s first cases and even sees Sherlock outwitted. Watson is also first introduced to Sherlock’s greatest enemy, the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty. Sherlock’s famous confrontation with his nemesis at Reichenbach Falls is one of the eleven exciting tales in this volume.

Sherlock Holmes and Watson are back in the fourth book in the Sherlock Holmes series. There are eleven short stories (or cases) in this book. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is interesting because at times the reader is introduced to Sherlock before he was a consulting detective and was just a clever university student. We also get to see Sherlock’s younger brother Mycroft, who might be more intelligent than his brother but is not as driven. It was fascinating to hear about some of Holmes’ first cases. In “The Yellow Face,” Sherlock is wrong in his assumptions, further proof that Holmes is imperfect and makes mistakes, like the rest of us. While things started off strong with “Silver Blaze,” I found myself losing interest midway through the book. I read this book all at once, and I think it’s meant to be read a story at a time (which is how I read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.) Things ended on a high note, with “The Final Problem.” This infamous story details Holmes’ first dealings with Moriarty, and their fateful fight over Reichenbach falls. While this was originally intended to be the end of Sherlock Holmes, Doyle continued writing the series. And thank goodness: imagine Sherlock Holmes without The Hound of the Baskervilles! Knowing that Holmes is not actually dead, I enjoyed this story. Of course, I would hate it if he actually died. Although it contains one of Doyle’s most famous stories, I preferred The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: I don’t remember ever losing interest, as I did midway through this book. However, it was still enjoyable and just brilliant. My favourite story was “The Stockbroker’s Clerk:” I enjoy the stories that centre around a robbery, such as “The Red Headed League” in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Overall, this was a great addition to the series and a must for fans of Sherlock Holmes and mystery lovers. While The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or The Hound of the Baskervilles might be a better place to start if you have never read any of Doyle’s books, this addition to the series was clever and often exciting. While it did drag along in the middle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes was still a thoroughly enjoyable read.
I received this e-galley from Penguin Group USA.


"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.

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