It's important to note that this is The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by A Conan Doyle, not by the Conan Doyle. Just kidding. Seriously, I came back to this through the British TV series Sherlock penned by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and wondering whether they would ever get around to a fifth season. It's looking rather like they won't, and maybe that's not such a bad thing after season four. But I got to wondering if they did, what would it be like: would they continue into season arcs like they had, or simply get back to basic mystery solving like the show was when it first began. This led me to the original stories and to this volume which contains a dozen adventures:
- A Scandal in Bohemia
This is the only story featuring the absurdly overrated Irene Adler, who is trumpeted today as Holmes's equal, when in reality, all she doe sis protect her property. The sad thing about this story is that Adler's "brilliance" is only visible because all other women in the Holmes canon are treated as cannon fodder, so be shot out as needed to display empty headedness, a predilection to fainting away, and other traditional feminine traits. The fact that Adler is none of these things makes her stand out, but it does not make her a mastermind. Holmes isn't even a mastermind in this story, so it's hardly an act of genius to bea thima t his own game. She just knew what she wanted and succeeded in protecting something that was valuable to her. It had nothing to do with smarts, only with determination if not outright desperation. That's it. The story isn't that good.
- The Red-Headed League
A story about a redhead who is tricked into leaving his place of work every day so the villains can dig through to the bank using a basement under his store.
- A Case of Identity
In which a money-grubbing stepdad hatches a bizarre scheme to keep his step-daughter;'s income in the family.
- The Boscombe Valley Mystery
Two Australians at war in rural England.
- The Five Orange Pips
Improbable tale of the KKK
- The Man with the Twisted Lip
A married man begging to keep a secret.
- The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
A stolen blue diamond is added to the crop
- The Adventure of the Speckled Band
No one, and I do mean quite literally no one has ever called a snake a 'speckled band" except Doyle in this story! The whole story sucks. Snakes are effectively deaf to airborne sounds; they hear by resting their jawbone on the ground, so the idea of training a snake to respond to a relatively high-pitched whistle is for the birds. Holmes wasn't so smart after all, was he?!
- The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb
Counterfeiting in the English countryside isn't something to thumb your nose at.
- The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
Twice toiled tail.
- The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
Doyle gave us the six Napoleons, Moffat gave us the six Thatchers, this story gives us the three beryls.
- The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
An Unwelcome fiancé is made to rue the castle.
Can't commend this based on the average stories inlcude din this collection. Perhaps retirement Holmes rather than Sherlock?