I have for you today the penultimate installment of my Sherlock Holmes Wednesday Supplement. After this we're left with only Friday's final Holmes novel, and next week's Supplement containing the last eight short stories. Strangely enough, this week's group contains some of the best and worst stories so far.
From His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
"The Adventure of the Dying Detective"
Synopsis—Dr. Watson is sent for to fulfill the last wishes of a dying Sherlock Holmes. Can he find a cure to Holmes' rare Asiatic ailment before it's too late?
Comments—I kinda knew where this one was going, but it was fun to watch it play out. Very enjoyable.
"The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax"
Synopsis—Holmes sends Watson off to the continent to investigate the disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax. Will Watson be able to find the woman before its too late, or will he be stopped by the gruff-looking man that's been following his trail?
Comments—As was the case in The Hound of the Baskervilles as well, it's interesting to see Watson on his own. He's learned much over the years being with Sherlock Holmes, and puts it all to good use here, without forfeiting his own identity. Eventually the story comes back to London and remains interesting, so a nice read.
"The Adventure of the Devil's Foot"
Synopsis—While vacationing on the Cornish peninsula, Holmes and Watson stumble upon a devilish mystery. A woman seems to have been scared completely to death, and her two brothers have devolved into raving lunatics. With few clues to go off of, will Holmes be able to solve this "Cornish horror"?
Comments—Definitely an unusual case, and one with several points of singularity, but on the whole nothing too extraordinary. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't as much fun as the last two.
"His Last Bow"
Synopsis—A tale of the work of Sherlock Holmes leading into the First World War and how he aided his country.
Comments—"His Last Bow" comes completely out of nowhere and dives into the world of international espionage. Holmes uses his talents for the good of his country, and while the format does shift—Watson is not the narrator—that doesn't hamper my enjoyment. I liked seeing a different side of Holmes.
From The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
"The Adventure of the Illustrious Client"
Synopsis—Holmes is hired to convince a young woman in love that her fiance is nothing more than a ruthless murderer. The woman, however, won't listen to reason. Can Holmes find a way to change her mind before the wedding?
Comments—I like that Holmes gets more and more inventive as these stories go on. This one is pretty straightforward—there isn't even a crime to solve—but there were still enough twists and turns that it kept me engaged.
"The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier"
Synopsis—A young soldier goes searching for his friend after the friend mysteriously stops replying to any letters he receives. Could his family be holding him hostage somewhere on their estate?
Comments—Sherlock Holmes narrates a story for the first time! It's true that Holmes doesn't have the same flair as Watson, and comments that it is difficult to hold back facts when he himself is narrating, but it's still an interesting read. Holmes is humbled for the first time, as he admits finally that Watson has to inject personality into the stories to make them readable, which had previously been a point of contention between them.
"The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone"
Synopsis—Holmes leads a notorious criminal to the sitting room of 221B Baker Street in order to determine the location of a missing crown jewel. With such a deadly man in his home, though, will the great Sherlock Holmes survive the night?
Comments—For some reason, neither Holmes nor Watson narrate this story. It's this strange, ambiguous third-person narration, completely out of nowhere. Maybe it's because Watson isn't around for most of it, I don't know. It's not good, though. Don't read it.
"The Adventure of the Three Gables"
Synopsis—Holmes is asked to investigate a strange happening just outside of London. An elderly widow has been offered an exorbitant sum of money for her home and everything in it. Suspicious of such a gracious offer, she brings Holmes in to consult.
Comments—This story sucks. It is absolutely terrible. This is the strongest group of stories so far, with mostly 4's—and a 3 that was almost a 4—but these last two are just awful. There's actually a strong argument to suggest that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle didn't even write "The Adventure of the Three Gables," and I believe it. Holmes acts very strangely, and the plot blows. Don't even try to read this one.
It sucks to end the group on such a low note, but oh well. Make sure to come back on Friday when I review the last of the Sherlock Holmes novels, The Valley of Fear. Until then, keep reading, Genoshans!
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