17 Jan 2012
Back around the first of the year, I finished up the last of Sherlock Holmes Volume II. I have now read all 60 Sherlock stories and I would say, overall, Volume I has the better collection. Volume II did have some good ones though, The Valley of Fear being my favorite. The Valley of Fear felt to me more of a modern detective story. Anyone who loves stories like the Untouchables, would like The Valley of Fear I think.
It seems I enjoy the longer Sherlock stories, the novellas, the most. Not surprising because you just get so much more in the longer pieces. More character development, more suspense, and more immersion in the action. Most of the short stories are only 20 pages or so, which really doesn’t give enough time to build tension.
There are some shorts that shouldn’t be missed though!
From Volume I my favorites are:
A Scandal in Bohemia- There’s not a lot of “story” in this one but Sherlock meets his match in Irene Adler. It’s good fun to read someone getting one over on Holmes.
The Five Orange Pips- Classic Holmes, one of the more referenced stories.
The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle- Has a great example of Sherlock’s deduction skills, all based on a hat.
The Musgrave Ritual- Some more great details about Holmes, like how he keeps his letters transfixed by jack-knife into the center of the mantlepiece and shoots holes in wall when bored.
The Final Problem- Of course you have to read this one, although it’s a bit spoiled now since we know there are more stories to come.
The best thing about Volume I is that the longer and most renown stories- A Study in Scarlett, The Sign of Four, and The Hound of Baskerville- are all collected in it. The shorter stories are wonderful for following along with Dr Watson as he uncovers Sherlock’s character and idiosyncrasies.
Volume II has quite a different feeling than Volume I. In the second collection of stories, things become much darker, more violent, and Sherlock has become cynical of working with the Police. Very often in Volume II Sherlock acts as judge and jury, deciding on his own who should be held accountable for their crime and who acted as any one of us would act in the same situation.
Some of the best from Volume II
The Adventure of the Empty House- Sherlock and his nemeses, Moriarty and Moran
The Adventure of the Dancing Men- Fun cryptogram
The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton: Holmes and Watson become burglars.
The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans: If you watch Sherlock, the series, you’ve heard of this one.
The Adventure of the Dying Detective: Holmes near death…
As I go through the book, there was actually quite a few good stories in Volume II. They just feel a little less fresh when you’ve already read 30+ Holmes tales.
Do you have a favorite Sherlock Holmes story?
Slightly off topic note- I just want to say I am extremely bitter that all you UK-ers are now watching the second Sherlock series! Dh and I are dying but I think we have to wait until Spring for the show to air in the US.