Daniel's Reviews > The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
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's review
Jan 20, 09

bookshelves: 2009
Recommended to Daniel by: Rose
Read in January, 2009

By the time Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the dozen stories that make up "The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes," from 1921 to 1927, he had clearly tired of the character. He had already tried to kill off the sleuth once, after all, and was forced by fans to bring him back. By the '20s, he obviously wasn't putting the same effort into the tales he once had, and turned to entertaining himself, seemingly, by experimenting with the Sherlock Holmes format.

While the bulk of the Holmes canon is told from Watson's point of view, one in "Case-Book" is told in third person, and two others are narrated by Holmes himself. The former, "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone," is jarring to read, particularly when Watson leaves the scene for the first time. The latter two, "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier" and "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane," are not quite as disorienting, with Holmes speaking directly to us, the readers, in much the same way he usually addresses Watson.

"Case-Book" also contains one truly bad story, "The Adventure of the Creeping Man," and one that's almost a rewrite of an earlier, far superior Holmes story: the plot of "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" is almost identical to that of "The Red-Headed League," from 1891.

Most of the book's other stories, though, are more enjoyable, while still paling in comparison to Doyle's earlier work. Even with a couple elements unpleasant to modern readers -- Holmes' condescending treatment of a black man, and a debt-ridden baronet said to be "in the hands of the Jews" -- it's hard to completely dislike even the least of the Sherlock Holmes books.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Rose (new) - added it

Rose You know, I have realised that all the books you put in were recommended by me, you don't score very highly...

message 2: by Daniel (last edited Jan 21, 2009 03:13PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Daniel Frankly, Rose, I dislike star ratings and should probably just follow your lead and not use them at all. But the way I do use them pretty much follows GoodReads' description: three stars for any book I liked, two stars for a book that was just OK, and one star for a book I disliked. I reserve four stars for books I thought were exceptional -- Moll Flanders was the last one I awarded four stars, I believe -- and I give five stars only to to those few books I consider among the very best I've ever read. Most of your recommendations have been getting three stars, I think, which means I liked them. To get four or five stars from me, you're just going to have to try a bit harder with your recommendations, I guess. You're going to have to bring your A game, Rose!

message 3: by Rose (new) - added it

Rose Damn! Damn! I better get researching. I'll look up all the ones you rated highly for clues.

message 4: by Rodrigo (new) - added it

Rodrigo I did see an episode of "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" where Batman teams up with Sherlock Holmes.

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