BooksOfTheMoon

Sherlock Holmes: The complete illustrated novels

By Arthur Conan Doyle

Rating: 4 stars

This omnibus volume contains all four Sherlock Holmes novels by Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s a companion volume to Sherlock Holmes The Complete Illustrated Short Stories and is as beautifully illustrated as the other with the illustrations from the original serial publication in Punch and the other magazines of the day.

The four novels contained within are all well known, possibly excepting the last one. Holmes’ first appearance is in A Study in Scarlet, which sees Holmes and Watson take up residence at 221B Baker St; The Sign of Four isn’t really all that memorable a story of betrayal and revenge; The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably his most famous story; and The Valley of Fear is the only story, other than The Adventure of the Final Problem to mention Professor Moriarty (it was set before the latter, although written after).

The Valley of Fear resurrects the successful formula from A Study in Scarlet by having the mystery solved about half way through the book, and then a historical narrative to show how we got there in the first place.

The last one is the only one of the novels that I hadn’t read before, but you can’t really go that far wrong with a Holmes novel and I’ve enjoyed dipping back into Conan Doyle’s world to watch the master at work.

Book details

ISBN: 9781851520589
Publisher: Chancellor Press
Year of publication: 1966

Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Illustrated Short Stories

By Arthur Conan Doyle

Rating: 4 stars

This is a lovely volume of Sherlock Holmes stories, all with the original illustrations. I’m not sure that there’s a huge amount to say about the stories themselves, beyond the obvious. Watson is a likeable everyman narrator who puts up with Holmes smugness better than most people would, and some of the deductions seem a little tenuous to me, but that detracts nothing from them. To me, Conan Doyle’s detective is as readable as he ever was and the companion volume containing the four Holmes novels is on my shelf, to be tackled soon (although after fifty-six stories, I may need a break first).

Book details

ISBN: 9780907486862
Publisher: Chancellor Press
Year of publication: 1927

The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

By Arthur Conan Doyle

Rating: 5 stars

Sherlock Holmes is possibly the greatest of literary detectives. He is certainly the one who has penetrated deepest into the public consciousness, a position in which he has been firmly lodged for over a century now, with no sign of departing any time soon. This volume is a compendium of two collections of short stories and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Holmes fits the short story genre perfectly, with setup, analysis and denouement all coming swiftly, one after the other.

It’s been many years since I read any Holmes, and I was drawn to this volume, sitting on my shelves after an impulse buy some time ago, after the conclusion of an RPG that had Holmes-ian aspects to it. I find Holmes to be a fascinating character, and one whom it’s a pleasure to follow. Despite my best efforts I still often couldn’t follow the clues that he sees to the logical conclusions, so seeing his reveals were always pleasurable.

This volume takes us to Conan Doyle’s intended end for Holmes, grappling with his nemesis at Reichenbach Falls. Of course, it’s well known now that public demand ensured that Holmes survived his fall and Baker Street’s finest didn’t get to retire to the Sussex Downs for some time. I’m certainly glad of that and will be looking up more of adventures.

Book details

Publisher: Wordsworth Editions
Year of publication: 1892

The Lost World (Professor Challenger, #1)

By Arthur Conan Doyle

Rating: 3 stars

I’d never read this classic until I picked up a free copy as part of the Aye Write! festival/Darwin 200 celebrations. While the scientific underpinnings of Doyle’s South American plateau where dinosaurs still roam is long-gone, the adventure it hold together is still highly engaging and enjoyable.

Book details

ISBN: 9780812967258
Publisher: Modern Library
Year of publication: 1912

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