Title : The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Author : Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)
Publisher : Project Gutenberg
Edition : Ebook #1661, 12th edition, November 2002
- A Scandal in Bohemia
- The Red-Headed League
- A Case of Identity
- The Boscombe Valley Mystery
- The Five Orange Pips
- The Man with the Twisted Lip
- The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
- The Adventure of the Speckled Band
- The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb
- The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
- The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
- The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
(click the title for review per story [in Bahasa Indonesia])
This first short story collection of Sherlock Holmes contains twelve adventures of our detective and his biographer, John Watson. Purposely, I made review for each short story to catch as many details as possible. From that, I made some mental notes of Doyle’s style. One thing I love from this author is the ending of his stories. It feels like it’s just another beginning of an adventure. Or if it really ends, it gives some satisfaction even the adventure itself ends badly (for the characters involved). But, for me, it is just the power of words. How he made his conclusions (mostly through Holmes) sufficient and content.
Speaking of characters, we have known Holmes enough from A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four. However, some minor details provided here are also interesting. The development that appeared in this collection is the interaction of Holmes and Watson. We can see how Holmes valued his friend so much. He involved Watson intensivey, he made Watson his assistant—his right hand, and he meant to hear Watson’s judgments and opinions, although mostly Watson didn’t reach Holmes’ methods and deductions. However, he also criticized Watson’s methods of writing his journals.
“To the man who loves art for its own sake,” remarked Sherlock Holmes, tossing aside the advertisement sheet of the Daily Telegraph, “it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived. It is pleasant to me to observe, Watson, that you have so far grasped this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have been good enough to draw up, and, I am bound to say, occasionally to embellish, you have given prominence not so much to the many causes célèbres and sensational trials in which I have figured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial in themselves, but which have given room for those faculties of deduction and of logical synthesis which I have made my special province.”
(The Adventure of the Copper Beeches)
The cases that appeared are truly varied. Holmes clients came from variable background, from the noblemen to ordinary housewife. The cases could be some domestic conflict to some serious criminal, but nothing ordinary. However, sometimes they have some patterns, like mutual motive in A Case of Identity and The Adventure of the Speckled Band, that can be read from the mutual circumstances between those two cases. Some hints in The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet could give a conclusion of the innocent, although we couldn’t reach the final conclusion of the true criminal. I can say that those repetition, even the tiniest, sharpen our senses, at least to understand Holmes cases.
Even though Holmes characterized as unemotional person, we’ll see, however, that he captured human’s emotions and used them for his observation and deduction, without being attached to those emotions himself. That’s what I saw. When he ignored official procedures to form his own definition of justice is one thing. Holmes had us to justify his unofficial decision.
My most favourite stories are the ones with the real adventures. Most of the stories had no real threat in them. All the mayhem, the crime, the fraud were already happened, waiting for our detective to reveal the truth. But stories like A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red-Headed League, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches showed Holmes and Watson in action, facing real threat, and caught the culprit red-handed. My personal favourite is The Adventure of the Speckled Band for that reason, it was, in my opinion, one story with the most intense, near-death adventure. And fortunately, Doyle had made that story into a play too.
“He is so cunning that I never know when I am safe from him. What will he say when he returns?”
“He must guard himself, for he may find that there is someone more cunning than himself upon his track.”
(The Adventure of the Speckled Band)
And of course even Sherlock Holmes had some flaws. Sometimes he was late that an unnecessary death had to happen. On other occasion, he also formed some wrong deductions that made his action didn’t occur as it planned. Even though, I didn’t see it as a major failure, as long as he reached his main goal (which mostly happened), and if he did not, it didn’t make him seems insufficient (which sometimes happened).
Overall, this collection is enjoyable, good step to know more about Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, exhibit our detective’s brilliance well, and give some nice adventures. There are not so many ‘wow’ aspects, but still have some thrilling moments. 4/5 stars from me.
Review #22 of Classics Club Project