Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nessie Reviews ☆ The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Publisher: Little, Brown Company
Release Date: 2004
Source: Bought
Date Read: 8/23/13 to 8/15/14
303 Pages

The last twelve stories written about Holmes and Watson, these tales reflect the disillusioned world of the 1920s in which they were written. Some of the sharpest turns of wit in English literature are contrasted by dark images of psychological tragedy, suicide, and incest in a collection of tales that have haunted generations of readers.

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I impulse bought this from a local bookstore in New York half-way through my Freshman year because I was really upset about BBC's Sherlock hiatus and wanted something to fill the void, so I figured reading the original Sherlock would be the best way to satisfy my craving.

Two things I need to let you guys know up front before getting into the review: 1) I read this book on and off over the course of a year. I treated it more as a filler book when I wasn't able to get my hands onto anything else. 2) I didn't realize these were the last Sherlock stories until after I finished reading it and checked its Goodreads page, because I'm just a genius like that. 

This is the perfect time to mention that I DETEST reading things out of chronological order
Anyways, this collection contains the final twelve adventures of Sherlock and his dear Watson. Of these twelve my favorite was "The Problem of Thor Bridge" because of the twists and turns the case took, the motive of the culprit, and just how it all came from an unfortunate misunderstanding. This is not to say that the other cases weren't as engaging (I also thoroughly enjoyed "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman" and "The Adventure of Lion's Mane"), it's just that in general I don't find most British works written in the late 1800's to early 1900's as engaging or interesting as other books that I read. I think it just something to do with the language and the way it's written that I think creates some distance between me and the story--and it's the only reason that I gave this collection 3 stars. Actually...the more I think about it, I think the style just reminds me too much of the books I was required to read, but cared little for throughout high school and college.

That being said, Sir Conan Doyle is an excellent writer. He's not as flowery or beautiful as Fitzgerald (one of my favorite writers) in his writing, but he exerts quiet kind of control that I really enjoyed. I guess the best example of this is through his descriptions of the various characters. When a new character entered I would immediately visualize them in one way or another. However, over the course of a couple paragraphs or pages Doyle would quietly drop the occasional adjective or note about their demeanor, that made me revise my mental image of them. These little revisions were done so discreetly that it wasn't until the character left the scene that I would realize just how drastically my imagining of them had changed. Even outside of character descriptions, throughout reading I felt comfortable that my narrator was in complete control of the story and would gently guide me along where I needed to go.

Also, I was pleased to see that Sherlock was just as much as an immature,

"The good Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife, the only selfish action I can recall in our association."
sassy little twat,

"On my word, Watson, you are coming along wonderfully. You have done very well indeed. It is true you have missed everything of importance, but you have hit upon the method..."

that is in love cares deeply for his good friend Watson,

"'You're not hurt, Watson? For God's a sake, say that you are not hurt!'
It was worth a wound--it was worth many wounds--to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation."

that I remember from BBC Sherlock.

So if you've only ever heard of Sherlock Holmes, but never actually read any of the book give it a shot! However, don't make the same dumb mistake I did and actually start with the first Sherlock story, titled A Study in Scarlet.

Vanessa is Val's bestest buddy, and she will be guest posting throughout the summer because she loves to read and write. You can also find her at her own blog, Musings of an Aspiring Writer.
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