Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Return of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle



Published: 1905
Price: £1.99 for Print Version Here or Free E-Book Version Here

I would be surprised if none of you have heard of Sherlock Holmes before, however just in-case I will give a brief synopsis. Basically, the Sherlock story's are about a detective in Victorian London who uses his deductive reasoning skills, formidable abilities with disguises and his use of forensic science to help solve various cases, both criminal and civil. They are mainly narrated by Holmes's fictional friend, Doctor John Watson whom acts at times as the "normal" man trying to understand and describe the seemingly amazing things that Sherlock can achieve.

Anyway, since getting my kindle I have been slowly working through the various Sherlock Holmes novels & short story collections that you can pick up from Project Gutenberg for free. I have to admit right here that I am enjoying the full length novels more than the short story collections. Whilst the short stories are all good, I just prefer the longer drawn out mystery shown in the novels.

In regards to "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" itself, well it is a collection of 13 Short Stories set 3 years after the final story seen within The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, in which Sherlock Holmes was seen to have supposedly died. The history behind this is that after killing off Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was put under great pressure from the public to revive him and in the end he relented and started writing again.

I was a little bit wary of this collection as I was curious to know how Sherlock would be brought back to life. I mean, I have seen enough stories of people returning because they had amnesia until then, or they were in a coma or they fell asleep and were actually dreaming their death. However, I didn't need to worry because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle managed to work the false death very well showing that Holmes had been missing for a valid reason, one that actually tied into the very story that he had "died" in.

Other than this, I have to admit it was pretty standard Sherlock Holmes fare with him using his deductive reasoning to solve plenty of crimes and issues of importance. At times because of the length of the stories, the plots can be a little weak but they usually keep you guessing right until the end about what has actually happened and I did enjoy them all. If I had to pick one that I preferred the most then it would be "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange". This is simply because Holmes in this story shows a little bit more of the man himself and his moral compass. He decides from what he has learned that the crime committed may have it's own valid reasons. Therefore, he does not tell the police any further information to assist them beyond what he has already done. I just felt that it added a little bit more that some of the other stories in the collection due to this. I will admit however, that the following story in the collection "The Adventure of the Second Stain" also goes in a similar direction with Holmes not telling his client the full story in order to protect someone else. The reason why I preferred one over the other was because in "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange" I was actually able to deduce one aspect of the "crime" myself before it was revealed and I felt mighty proud of myself!

Overall, I am going to recommend anyone with an E-Reader download this collection and the other Sherlock Holmes books. They are free on Project Gutenberg and are all a great read, I mean how anyone can not like Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson? If you are buying the paper books then I would advise you look into some of the full length novels first as I think these are better rounded and more in-depth.