Monday, March 7, 2011

Reflections: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Sarah J. Zern gives her thoughts on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:

"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was an absolutely wonderful read.  This book contains twelve chapters, containing twelve independent mysteries for Holmes and Dr. Watson to solve.  Each chapter is only about twenty pages long, and each is written very clearly.  There are references to other cases that Holmes has solved throughout different chapters, but they are not integral to the plot of these subsequent cases.

I am a huge fan of the classic “Who done it?” mystery, so this book really appealed to me.  It always fascinates me when Holmes or Watson use the vast knowledge that they have, as well as their common sense, to solve cases that at times seemed completely and ridiculously unsolvable.  There were cases that I could figure out at least partially, which made this book even more engaging. 

One of the only things that surprised me about this book was how little Dr. Watson had to do with actually solving any Holmes’s cases.  Even though Sherlock is constantly insisting on Watson’s presence during each case, the Doctor consistently proves he has nothing to contribute to Holmes’s investigation, except for perhaps moral support and a gun.  On deeper reflection, Dr. Watson’s character is most likely used as a sort of surrogate for the reader.  Written from his viewpoint, it is easy for the reader, who most likely feels inept at deciphering these mysteries, to connect with Dr. Watson.  In essence we are Dr. Watson, completely unnecessary to Sherlock Holmes as a fellow detective.  We can offer no insight that Holmes has not already deduced. We are necessary on a much more personal level, however.  Dr. Watson (the reader) provides not only companionship for our bachelor Holmes, but an eager and complimentary audience. 

A wonderfully light, easy read!  I highly recommend it to all who crave a little mystery, and need all the facts wrapped up and presented in a beautiful package in the end."


  1. I am very interested in reading this book. I just reserved it at the library...can't wait!

  2. It's so nice to read a review about Holmes that does not mention his drug use. Sheesh! Or is it Doyle who was a drug addict?

    The crime fiction genre must thank Sherlock for setting the bar for the rest of them. From Michael Connelly to Janet Evanovich, they all still use the basic set up. Thanks Sarah for reminding us.