This review is about "The Complete Sherlock Holmes", the Kindle edition published in December 2012 with the foreword by Robert Ryan (I've included that because reviews of different editions tend to get muddled)
To begin with, I believe that there are few other works of fiction that deserve five stars more than the Sherlock Holmes canon. The stories are pretty much peerless, their longevity a testament to Conan Doyle's storytelling power.
So starting from that five-star premise, I have docked two stars from this collection for two reasons:
- inevitably the Kindle formatting loses the graphics. A few of the Holmes stories include illustrations that are key to the story. For example, in paper editions "The Adventure of the Dancing Men", the cryptanalysis classic, includes several pictures of the encoded messages that Holmes puzzles over. In the Kindle edition (on both my Kindle device and in the PC Kindle app), the pictures are replaced with the word "GRAPHIC". In "The Naval Treaty", Holmes is handed a hand-drawn map, which is illustrated in paper editions to give readers the chance to follow Holmes' deductions. In this Kindle edition, it is completely omitted.
- as others have pointed out, the text in this edition is not the original. Even the cheapest paper editions do Conan Doyle the credit of leaving his master work as he intended. Clearly that is not good enough for the editors of this edition, who have seen fit to mess around with the spellings and vocabulary. A cheque becomes a check, brandy becomes whiskey, and so on. Furthermore there are various errors, presumably as a result of scanning the text. For example, £10 reward becomes a L10 reward, May 23rd becomes May 23d. The text formatting is generally quite good, but italics are completely lost.
Holmes deserves better.