When I started reading the Sherlock Holmes stories, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them. Although I never read any story about Holmes and Watson before, I was familiar with the numerous representations of them in both film and television. I was a bit wary about forming an opinion about them already based upon these adaptations and hopefully they didn’t influence me too much in my eventual opinion.
The first story in this compiled novel was the famous A Study in Scarlet and from the first page I fell in love with the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. Although the meeting between Holmes and Watson is mainly based on need, the relationship that is developed, whether that be romantic or platonic, is a strong and sincere one. Yet the first stories are very factual in order to establish the basis of Sherlock Holmes. For me personally they tend to be a bit too much on the factual side with Watson just listing characteristics of Holmes, or Holmes just spewing information about a certain field of interest. After establishing the primary characters, the story appears on the foreground and these stories often seem to be very ordinary but turn out to be exactly the opposite.
Holmes’s clientele hails from all the social spectrums of life from kings to hard-working man, but what is more interesting is that he has completely no regard for social etiquette. This lack often shocks his clients, and Watson too at times, yet in the end creates more respect from them. As John Watson is the narrative point of view of the story the reader gets little information about the actual manner of his research. Yet he offers many glimpses, especially in the stories “The Gloria Scott” and ” The Musgrave Ritual” which are told from his recollection.
What surprised me was the short appearances of both Irene Adler and James Moriarty, as they are central figures in the Holmes universe. Yet they only appear in their respective short stories and than dissappear from the stage into the background. I felt that the admiration they get from Holmes does not correspond with the length of their stories. I expected that they would get a larger part that corresponds with the amount of attention they usually get in modern adaptation. Aside from this minor point, I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the Sherlock Holmes stories and I will definitely reread them at some point, if only to see whether I can figure out the mysteries myself this time.
A few of my favourite stories:
“The Study in Scarlet”
“The Adventure of the Speckled Band”
“The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor”
“The Adventure of the Gloria Scott”
“The Adventure of theMusgrave Ritual”
Book: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories Volume 1 – Bantam Classics
Quote: “Do you know, Watson,” said he, “that it is one of the curses of a mind with a turn like mine that I must look at everything with reference to my own special subject. You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there.”