Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

To my surprise, I found these stories thoroughly delightful.  I don't know what I was expecting, but perhaps dull comes to mind.  Holmes is an absolute hoot.  In his own words:

"It saved me from ennui," he answered yawning.   "Alas! I already feel it closing in upon me.  My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplace of existence . These little problems help me to do so." p.58

Indeed, from page one we learn of Holmes habit of injecting cocaine.  So he does in fact go to some great lengths to escape life's ennui!  I am now dying to watch Robert Downing Jr's movie version.  My understanding is, that while the film was not wholly popular, enthusiasts of the books, found the remake true to the character of Holmes.

The book is comprised of twelve stand alone tales, all told from the view point of Holmes long enduring friend, Dr Watson.  The stories cover an array of weird and perplexing scenarios.  Holmes assists princes and common men and woman a like.  Holmes is by no means a snob, his whole focus is the thrill of untangling delicate and intractable problems.  Once the problem is solved he loses all interest in the good folk he has assisted.  Thank goodness he has Watson, who continues to put up with him.

My real surprise, I think, is that Holmes is a delightfully fleshed out character in these stories, at least I think so.   From reading the book I can fully understand why Conan Doyle's character Sherlock Holmes has endured.  Holmes has a peculiar droll genius, is reclusive, patronising, self destructive at times and narcissistic, but he  also demonstrates real concern and compassion at others.  The stories are quirky, fun and easy to read.  I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad that you liked it - I think I have read almost all of the Sherlock Holmes novels and stories now and I still can't get enough of them.


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