The Classics Club: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

I have become quite a fan of short story collections recently, as I now see the advantages of being able to read one or two stories at a time. At the beginning of December I read and enjoyed Aesop’s Fables when I finished that I decided to start The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I thought this might be a match made in heaven of two of my loves; short stories and crime. I read this collection alongside The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley. Between the two I spent many a happy hour curled up in a blanket in my mother’s conservatoire reading over my Christmas holiday.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection made up of the first twelve Sherlock Holmes short stories Arthur Conan Doyle wrote and had published in The Strand. The most famous story from the collection would have to be A Scandal in Bohemia where we are introduced to the infamous Irene Adler, one of the few people to ever best our intrepid sleuth. As much as I enjoyed A Scandal in Bohemia I would say my favourite stories were The Five Orange Pips, The Speckled Band, and The Copper Beeches. That being said there were no stories in this collection I didn’t enjoy, they were all fascinating, the three I have named though particularly captured my imagination.

This is not my first foray into the world of Sherlock Holmes, previously I have read A Study in Scarlet the first novel to include Holmes and his faithful companion Watson. Sadly several years have passed since I read this first novel but I was very keen to read more so when I joined The Classics Club I made space for Doyle’s work on my list. I am really glad I did because I just love delving into Doyle’s intricate mysteries and witnessing the chemistry between his two protagonists. I was a little hesitant because I hadn’t read any short stories by Doyle before but in fact I think I enjoyed this format more than I did the novel. The range of stories in this collection was varied and well-balanced. While the shorter length of the stories meant you could easily keep the thread of the mystery and fully enjoy all the twists and turns, without the worry of needing a break.

From my experience of reading A Study in Scarlet I found I was most drawn to Holmes’s companion Dr Watson. As much as I find the workings of Holmes’s mind fascinating, the down to earth narration of Watson is what made the story more relatable for me. I found a change in my opinion from reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes because I think in some of the stories we see a more sympathetic Holmes. The modern film and television adaptations tend to only focus on his intelligence and clinical thinking, while I feel Doyle’s original stories show Holmes can be compassionate. As much as I like the adaptations I’ve watched I think I now prefer the Holmes from the stories.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was a fascinating read with an interesting mix of adventures to discover. I also found my return to Doyle’s well-loved sleuth rather comforting. On finishing this collection I started The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes straight away. This is now my 8th read from my Classics Club list, I am very proud of my progress so far.

Have you read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes? What’s your favourite Sherlock Holmes story?


18 thoughts on “The Classics Club: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

    1. Thank you Elizabeth. Sherlock Holmes is such a classic character, plenty more posts on him to come as I am keen to read Doyle’s whole collection.
      I am going go check out what you’ve been reading now 🙂

  1. I love Holmes! Glad to hear you had fun with it. I’m not sure what my favorite short story is–I remember liking the Speckled Band though. Holmes and Watson are one of the great pairings of literature–Holmes could never tell his own story, but Watson wouldn’t be as interesting without Holmes!

    If you’re in London, you should go on the Sherlock Holmes Walk, put on by London Walks. I went when I was there and it was wonderful–the guide takes you around to places in the book and tells a lot of the stories. Really excellent!

    1. Cheryl, I think you’ve summed it perfectly why Holmes and Watson work so well together! I have heard about these Sherlock Holmes Walks and would definitely like to give it a go if I’m ever down in London.

    1. I have so far only read one novel and one collection so not got a lot to compare at the moment but haveing started The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes I definitely think I’m leaning towards the short stories.

  2. Great choice! I enjoyed the books when I was in school, perhaps I should reread them some time. Poor Holmes, though, I fell for Miss Marple and Poirot before and never took to him in quite the same way 🙂

    1. That’s a really interesting point Bina, I think quite a few people have found it easier to fall for Miss Marple and Poirot rather than Holmes. Maybe it is the style of the writing of the period? I haven’t actually read anything by Agatha Christie yet! I do now have a copy of Murder on the Orient Express so hopefully I will rectify that soon.

      1. Oooh I really hope you’ll like Christie then and Orient express is a great choice!
        Well Holmes is rather stand-offish, but he also crawls around on his knees through the mud looking for clues, while Poirot only needs his little grey cells and can solve murders from his armchair. Much more impressive! 🙂

  3. I want to read this book, though I wasn’t aware it was a collection of short stories, somehow that makes me want to get to it sooner. The no worry of a break aspect you talk about is appealing. Interesting to hear he’s more sympathetic in the books, because his character is so strong otherwise in the adaptations.

    1. I loved being able to get lost in the mystery of these short stories and not have to worry about breaking the thread of the mystery. Plus with this being collection it means you get a nice mixture of mysteries. There is theft, scandal, murder, black mail, deceit, and supernatural events.

  4. I really should get on with reading Sherlock Holmes but I remember being terrified by the childrens version of “The Hound of Baskerville” as a kid so I think I’m a bit traumatized 🙂

    1. Hello Willa, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Always lovely to see a new face 🙂
      I’m afraid I haven’t read The Hound of the Baskervilles so can’t tell you if its scary. I suspect the fear is more psychological rather than the story itself being graphic. You could always start with a collection like this which has a good mixture of tales, some were creepy but most were more to odo with scandal.

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