...and two things probably help with this. Firstly, the fact that it is short and can be read in one sitting. Secondly, I'd never read any of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories prior to reading this. Whilst some of the intertextual points may have been beyond me at certain points (or were they? Everyone surely knows at least the basic outlines of Holmes and Watson) I felt that this was a good place to come in. My impression of Holmes as eminent detective had not been formed and, perhaps through this, what I found to admire here more than deduction, or other themes normally to be found in police procedurals and amateur sleuth stories, was Holmes' cunning.
Aside from Holmes, I found Watson to be particularly engaging narrator who led me along with a sprightly if slightly gammy-legged skip. Enjoyable, readable and a perfect starting place to help with delving into the original Conan Doyle stories as I am going to do now.