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23 December 2015

Classics Club + TBR Pile Challenge | The Adventures & Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures & Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | 1892, original publication; 2004, this edition | Sterling Publishing | Hardcover $14.95

★ ★ ★

Only 3 stars for Sherlock Holmes! What are you, some kind of bonkers philistine with a puddle of cheese for brains? Your opinions are bad and you should feel bad.

That's what you're thinking right now, isn't it?

Look, as it turns out, this whole Sherlock thing is not my thing. Holmes is not my homie.

It isn't that these stories are bad! They're not. A 3 star rating is nothing to sneeze at. I can still appreciate these stories for what they are -- classic mysteries featuring unique, witty characters that have inspired a billion adaptations and reinterpretations.

I didn't outright dislike this book. I was just kind of bored after the first couple of stories, TBH. Every story follows a formula: someone brings a case to Holmes, Holmes sees a bunch of details and clues that everyone else misses, some kind of small crisis or adventure happens, and Watson writes it all down from his own point of view. The end. Some of the mysteries were fairly interesting, but after a while they all started to blend together.

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Beyond that, my main complaint is that Doyle relies on a lot of slight-of-hand storytelling devices. For example, take the overused "My dear Watson, didn't you notice the X?" scenario where X is a thing that the reader, seeing things from Watson's point of view, would also be unaware of until it was suddenly important. There's also a lot of telling instead of showing, which I don't think would fly if these books were written for modern mystery readers -- somewhat ironically, as Doyle essentially popularized the genre single-handedly.

However, it isn't entirely fair to judge the classics by my modern standards, is it? Especially since the mystery genre is not something I usually go for. Dunno why, I just am often bored with mystery books. Which further complicates my thoughts on rating this book, because how can I fairly rate a book if I rarely even read other comparable stories?

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What I did like about this book, though, are the characters of Holmes and Watson themselves. It makes sense to me now why I enjoy most movies and TV shows based on these stories. Their personalities do shine through and develop over time despite the repetitiveness of the actual mysteries, and that's what kept me reading until the end.

So there it is, my dumb but honest opinion of this classic book. Please refrain from throwing all your rotten tomatoes at me....

Publication information: Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2004. Print.
Source: Owned, original source unknown.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated, monetarily or otherwise, for reviews of books or other products.

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