Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
I had never before read a Sherlock Holmes novel. I, of course, knew who Sherlock Holmes was. I had a mental image of him before ever opening one of Arthur Conan Doyle's books. But I felt that I was really missing out on something, making my classic an easy choice. I wish I could say I had a brilliant reason for choosing to read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes over one of Conan Doyle's other novels, but the truth is it was one of the few novels available at my library on the day I was there. However, I felt that it was a pretty good first read of this series.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is actually a collection of short stories, although the stories do refer to one another from time to time. It's a great pick to suggest to a reader who may not be sure that they want to read a classic. A reader can just read a story or two from this collection. Each story is around twenty pages making them a good length for a reluctant reader.
I also feel that this would make a good first classic read because this book if filled with so much. There's suspense, horror, humor and mystery. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is very much character driven. It was the characterization of Holmes that really made this book appealing to me. The best thing that I can compare Sherlock Holmes to is the TV series House. Like House, Holmes is a brilliant man who can often figure out things no one else can. He has a loyal friend, Dr. Watson, who reminds me of House's friend Dr Wilson. Holmes uses drugs, much like House has drug problems. Although, at least in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Holmes' drug use is not mentioned very much. Both House and Holmes are arrogant and well aware of their brilliance. However, their characters are likeable despite their arrogance. Both characters make sarcastic comments which are fairly humorous at times. Much like watching different episodes of House, there is a mystery that holds each story together, and the ending of the short stories of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes are somewhat known. The reader knows that Holmes will surely solve the case. It is following Holmes as he comes to the solution that is fun and exciting.
The only down side of this particular Holmes book was that while each chapter had a mystery, I'm not sure that a die-hard mystery fan would really enjoy the tales. It is hard to develop a full mystery with twists and unexpected results, as Agatha Christie does so well, in twenty pages or so. I'm interested to read a full-length Holmes novel to see if the mystery is developed a bit more fully. Overall, I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to others.