The Classics Club: The Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

I have been ploughing on with my new-found love for short story collections in 2013. I read and adored The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes at the end of 2012 and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes at the beginning of this year. Since which time I have been very keen to get my hands on more Sherlock Holmes stories. I was lucky enough to download the complete and free collection of Sherlock Holmes to my Kindle. Not long after I started reading the next short story collection The Return of Sherlock Holmes as I’d been rather missing the adventures of our famous sleuth.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes is a collection made up of another thirteen Sherlock Holmes short stories Arthur Conan Doyle wrote and published in The Strand between 1903 and 1904. These were the first stories since 1893 when in The Final Problem Doyle killed off his popular creation. The most famous adventure from the collection would have to be The Empty House as this is where we see the ‘return’ of Sherlock Holmes and his explains where he has actually been. I very much enjoyed The Empty House as well as the adventures of The Priory School, Charles Augustus Milverton, and The Six Napoleons. That being said again there were no adventures in this collection I didn’t enjoy, they were all fascinating, the four I have named though particularly captured my imagination.

Like previous collections I have read I thought The Return of Sherlock Holmes had a good range of stories which were varied and well-balanced. There was also the wonderful chemistry between the two protagonists that I love to witness during the intricate mysteries. I did again find I was most drawn to Holmes’s companion Dr Watson in this collection. As much as I love the mind and foibles of Holmes it is his down-to-earth companion Watson that I find I really connect with. I think it is a very clever device of Doyle to have Watson narrate the stories even though Holmes is the main protagonist. I just don’t think these stories would be as popular if the poor reader had to be literally in the mind of Holmes!

While the length of each story varied quite dramatically in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes for The Return of Sherlock Holmes the length had returned to the more standard length like those found in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which I much preferred. I am still really enjoying reading the short story collections of Sherlock Holmes. As the shorter length of the stories means I can easily keep the thread of the mystery and fully enjoy all the twists and turns, without the worry of needing a break. I do now however have all of Doyle’s Holmes novels and I would like to read them in the not so far future too. For now I look forward to reading the next short story collection His Last Bow.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes was another fascinating read with more interesting adventures for me to discover. I highly recommend to those interested in classic crime. This is my 15th read off my Classics Club list. On finishing this collection I started reading Unfinished Tales by J R R Tolkien to keep things diverse. Although I do hope to return to the adventures of Holmes and Watson again very soon.

Have you read this collection? Do you have a favourite Sherlock Holmes story?


6 thoughts on “The Classics Club: The Return of Sherlock Holmes

  1. You’re so right that Holmes is a great protagonist but NOT one capable of telling his own stories (though he does narrate one or two short stories). We need Doyle’s device of slowly revealing the answer as Watson learns it–Holmes knows too much too quickly. And, equally important, we need the more likable, relate-able Watson to be our companion through the mysteries. You can’t get nearly as friendly with Mr. Holmes!

    1. Cheryl I hadn’t really thought about the fact that Doyle can slowly reveal through Watson while if Holmes was the narrator the mystery would probably get wrapped up in minutes in some cases! I am so looking forward to reading more. I haven’t read any narrated by Holmes yet 🙂

  2. You know, I really wasn’t too bothered about reading Conan Doyle until I read your posts. I’ve learned a great deal from what you’ve written (I never knew there were short stories, for example) and have found myself wanting to look for them myself. Glad to hear this collection is good, too.
    I’ve enjoyed the recent films, but that’s the only experience I have and I haven’t a clue whether they are at all accurate or not.

    1. Charlie I’m so pleased to hear you’ve got so much from my posts on these short story collections. As much as I enjoyed reading Doyle’s novel A Study in Scarlet I have enjoyed the short stories even more. These collection would probably be the best way for a new reader to get to know Doyle and Holmes.

      I have watched all the modern films too, and really enjoyed them. The main difference between them is there is far more action and humour. In the stories Holmes is sometimes amusing but not because he means to be!

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