Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Further Goings-On of Sherlock Holmes!

Love! Hate! Murder! Intrigue! I have for your reading pleasure eight more thrilling exploits of the amazing Sherlock Holmes!

From Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"The Musgrave Ritual"

Synopsis—A long-trusted butler goes missing just days after having an argument with his employer. Sherlock Holmes suspects foul play, but where's the body?
Comments—Not terrible. The only thing of note in this one is that Watson goes into some of the quirkier details of Holmes' character, like the fact that Holmes keeps tobacco in the toe of a Persian slipper.

"The Reigate Puzzle"

Synopsis—Holmes and Watson go to visit an old friend of Watson's, and stumble upon a small, country mystery! A string of robberies has been plaguing the village of Reigate, although the burglar doesn't seem to be taking much...
Comments—I really enjoyed "The Reigate Puzzle." While it wasn't the most exciting story, there were so many clues and obvious tips that I completely missed, which made the ending really satisfying.

"The Crooked Man"

Synopsis—A man is seemingly murdered by his wife after the two have an argument one evening. Sherlock Holmes is brought in to look over some of the more peculiar aspects of the case, however, like the existence of an extra set of muddy footprints that were tracked into the room, and the animal tracks climbing up the curtains.
Comments—I didn't enjoy this very much, but it contains the only instance in any Sherlock Holmes story or novel where Holmes actually says "Elementary." That alone is probably worth the read, right?

"The Resident Patient"

Synopsis—A young doctor comes to Holmes with a curious problem: his landlord and benefactor has become increasingly delirious in recent weeks, and now swears that someone is out to kill him. Can Holmes discover the identity of the supposed killer before it's too late?
Comments—It may not seem like much from the synopsis, but "The Resident Patient" is actually really good, and it kicks off a string of amazing stories that are all in a row. It was the first time so far that I've just plowed through from story to story, unable to put the book down.

"The Greek Interpreter"

Synopsis—A Greek interpreter is kidnapped and forced to aid in a shady international business deal. When the man is finally set free, he tells of his curious adventure to only man he knows who can shed some light on the situation—Mycroft Holmes?
Comments—Sherlock Holmes has a brother? What? Watson is just as amazed as you and I when he meets the older and smarter—though much less energetic—of the two Holmes brothers. Great mystery, too.

"The Naval Treaty"

Synopsis—An old school chum of Watson's is thrown into a fit of brain fever when an important Foreign Affairs document left in his charge is stolen. He turns to Sherlock Holmes to find the document before it falls into the wrong hands and causes an international crisis!
Comments—First of all, this is probably one of the best mysteries that I've read so far. It's got a ton of different things going on, and the ending makes perfect sense, even though I couldn't figure it out ahead of time. Secondly, though, and more interestingly, the plot revolves around a secret treaty that Britain signs with Italy and Germany that France and Russia can't find out about or else it would result in a global catastrophe. This was written in 1893. Twenty years later, a World War is started because Britain had a secret treaty with France and Russia that Germany and Italy didn't know about. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle basically almost predicted World War I, wow.

"The Final Problem"

Synopsis—The last Sherlock Holmes story! Two years after the death of Sherlock Holmes, Watson takes up his pen to tell the detective's last tale.
Comments—Amazing. After months of chasing Professor Moriarty around London, Holmes becomes the hunted, ultimately falling to his death at the Reichenbach Falls. I actually got a little emotional at the end of this one, not gonna lie.

From The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"The Adventure of the Empty House"

Synopsis—Sherlock Holmes lives! Having barely avoided death at the hands of Professor Moriarty, Holmes goes into hiding for several years, but is forced to come out of retirement to put one of his old opponents behind bars.
Comments—I honestly don't know how he did it, but Doyle brought Holmes back in a way that made sense, and I'm glad he did. I've seen characters die and come back in comic books plenty of times, but this is a great story and a fantastic way to start a new book.

That's all the short stories for this week, but make sure you check back in on Friday when I review the first of Doyle's four Sherlock Holmes novels, A Study in Scarlet. Until then, keep reading, Genoshans!

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