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?