Melissa's Reviews > The Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
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Jan 01, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, bought-new, crime, paperback, short-stories, 2012, own-book
Read from December 28, 2011 to January 02, 2012 , read count: 1

This was my first Sherlock in nearly a year, and a pleasure to dip back into. Not every story was a gem, but the majority made for a very good read. Among my favourites were "The Norwood Builder" (a young man unexpectedly becomes the heir of a benefactor previously unknown to him, only to be implicated in the man's death that night), "The Dancing Men" (a fellow and his wife are menaced by messages in the coded form of dancing men - with an ending a little darker and more chilling than most of the Holmes canon), and "The Second Stain" (in which Holmes is hired by the Prime Minister himself to retrieve a document which could begin a European war).

The weaker, I feel, were "Charles Augustus Milverton" (a departure from the standard format, in which Holmes commits burglary to retrieve a letter from a blackmailer, going so far as to become engaged to the fellow's maid in order to learn her master's habits. This one gave rather a poor impression of his character, all told), "The Six Napoleons" (obvious to the point that the police seemed staggeringly incompetent for failing to deduce the criminal's motive) and "The Abbey Grange" (not as glaring as the former, but rather too obvious for my liking).

One oddity worth noting is that apparently Watson's wife died somewhere in the interlude between "The Final Solution" and the first story in this collection, "The Empty House". It's mentioned in a single line, and given so little significance that I didn't even realise until two-thirds of the way in, after spending far too long wondering why he and Holmes were living together again.

I've yet to read one of the longer Holmes stories, but am planning on reading Hound of the Baskervilles before the new BBC adaptation airs next week. I'm not quite ready to leave 221B behind just yet, but after that I'll probably wait a while before picking up His Last Bow, because the prospect of having no more Holmes shorts to read is a sad one indeed.
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