on 28 February 2016
Ok, let's start with the fact that these are some of the most attractive books going. Another Barnes and Noble classic to add to my ever-growing bookshelf!
"The Complete Sherlock Holmes" comes in a beautiful rich brown, leather bound cover with gold embossed lettering. it is quite frankly, beautifully bound with much attention to detail. Looking inside of the book, you turn the page to a glorious Burberry print double spread! I absolutely love it. It comes with a golden-brown ribbon to keep your place and high quality paper pages (edged in gold). The text is relatively small, though perfectly readable. This book is a pleasure to read, I simply have to lay it on my lap and the pages fall open to the right place. It is relatively heavy so this is handy!
All in all, I would highly recommend it to anyone, as a treat to yourself or someone else. You can't put a value on a good story.
on 25 July 2002
I discovered Sherlock Holmes a few months ago and I can not believe how good these stories are. I read all the stories in about three weeks. I have now almost finished them for a second time and a second reading has only increased my appreciation for them.
There are many things about these stories that I find to be brilliant but I will discuss only three in this review so as not to make it too long.
The first is that Holmes is actually as brilliant as his reputation would have everyone believe. Something that I find extremely annoying in fiction is when a character has a reputation for being a fantastic investigator or for being great at something else but they never do anything to prove themselves worthy of that reputation. The character just seems to have average intelligence and the writer makes the main character look smart by making everyone else stupid. Doyle actually went to the trouble of thinking up brilliant things for Holmes to do instead of just making everyone else in the stories stupid as a lot of writers do.
The second is the way Doyle handled Holmes and Watson's relationship. Something else that I have come to detest in fiction is the typical friendship in which the characters are too often making a huge sacrifice for one another and are too frequently having big emotional scenes together. Relationships such as that eventually get to the point where they seem too unrealistic and no longer make me feel anything. But Doyle manages to convince the reader that Holmes and Watson are close friends without any of the sacrifices or emotional scenes. He uses little things to show the depth of their friendship which prevents it from ever becoming sappy or too fictional. Also, the way he wrote the characters helps a great deal to establish them as being close friends. The main thing that convinced me that Holmes and Watson must care a lot for one another was the fact that Watson put up with Holmes' arrogance, rudeness, and strange behavior and the fact that Holmes, who was a very cold and unemotional person, actually allowed Watson to be his friend.
The third is the stories themselves. Even today they are so original and unpredictable. Another complaint that I have about modern fiction is that I can usually determine the whole plot of the story at the very beginning or at least have a general idea where the writer is going to go with the story and the charcters. With most of these stories I didn't have a clue as to what was going to happen next. There were a couple of the stories that I was able to predict but it was still cool to hear Holmes give a logical explanation as to how he had arrived at a conclusion that I had only arrived at by guessing.
If you've never read these stories then I would highly recommend doing so. They are absolutely wonderful.
The first Sherlock Holmes book I ever read was given to me as a gift for my thirteenth birthday. It was a collection of the short stories, with a wonderful leather trim and gold leafing, and I thought it was fantastic. I read the first story, and was instantly hooked. Within a few days, I was disappointed with my wonderful new book because it was incomplete. I had devoured all of the selected stories, and was ready for more.
Shortly thereafter, I purchased what purported to be the 'only complete Sherlock Holmes available', compiled by Christopher Morley. This became my favourite book. But, alas, neither of these volumes was illustrated.
The original stories, which appeared in The Strand magazine, were illustrated, by the great illustrator Sidney Paget. Actually, careful research (which Holmes himself would insist upon) will reveal that Paget was not the first illustrator; however, it is not able to be determined conclusively how many artists preceding Paget. It is know that the first publication of A Study in Scarlet, in which Holmes and Watson are first introduced, was illustrated by on D.H. Friston. These illustrations would appall the Holmesian set today.
The next edition after the barely-received Beeton's Christmas Annual edition, was in book form, and apparently illustrated by Arthur Conan Doyle's father, Charles.
The next illustration was in The Sign of Four, appearing in Lippincott's Magazine, which showed a scene in India, but did not have one of Holmes.
The classic ideas of Holmes (in a visual sense) did not thus solidify until the popular series of short stories in The Strand, illustrated by Paget, beginning with the story A Scandal in Bohemia, in which Holmes is actually out-foxed by THE woman, but still manages a satisfactory ending to the case, and (particularly his illustrations of the serialised Hounds of the Baskervilles) Paget's illustrations have become the standard image.
This volume contains all the short stories (56 of them) and the novels (4). (At least, this is the official canon -- there are other proto-stories by Conan Doyle, and dozens of tribute stories written by other authors.) Hundreds of illustrations accompany the text. Perhaps Paget drew his image of Holmes based upon the actor William Gillette, who made a career out of portraying the Baker Street detective on stage in London and New York. Charlie Chaplain got one of his early starts in entertainment by playing the page attendant to Holmes opposite Gillette.
From the beginning introduction of Holmes and Watson to Holmes' gentle retirement to beekeepping on the southern coast of England, this book contains all the essential stories (none of the apocryphal, anecdotal, or tribute-written pieces are contained here). Holmes was often thought to be a real person, and Sherlockians the world over still search for 'evidence' to prove that he was. During his 'lifetime', the post office for the Baker Street area regularly received mail addressed to Holmes or Watson at 221B Baker Street. While such an address does not (and did not during the late Victorian era) exist, there is a business on the site that would be 221B, and they have dedicated a desk to Holmes, and strive to answer mail received in the great detective's name.
Perhaps the two elements that made Holmes and Watson the world-renowned figures that they became are, first, the dominance of the British Empire globally at the time Conan Doyle was writing, which made English things sought-after, admired, and to be emulated, and secondly, the introduction of a method of detection hitherto unknown, both in the annals of detective stories (save perhaps in a proto-form in Poe and a few other obscure pieces of dubious literary merit) and in real life.
Holmesian tales became required reading in the training of police and detectives in many parts of the world. It is still recommended even when it is not required.
Holmes permeates other literature and venues as well. When Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation looks for images of Holmes, he is being guided by the descriptions in the stories as well as by the illustrations in The Strand. When the BBC produced Jeremy Brett's rendering of Holmes, the same holds true. When Basil Rathbone's films were cast, these illustrations and stories were uppermost in the directors' minds.
So, pull some tobacco from your persian slipper, stoke your pipe, scratch out a tune on your violin, and re-enter the gas-lit world of the foggy London, where danger is afoot and one detective can always save the day.
on 7 September 2002
Conan Doyle had a wonderful abiblity of creating an atmosphere perfectly, even if the brilliant Sydney Paget drawings were not in this book, it would be very easy to imagine the scenes.
Though Doyle actually grew to disslike Holmes, these stories are by far the best, in my opinion, of all the other books he has written (e.g Brigadere Gerard and The Lost World) This book includes all 4 novels and all 56 short stories of Sherlock Holmes, as they were printed in the Strand magazine.
These stories are addictive, it took me 4 months to read the whole book, yet I didn't get bored or sick of it for a moment! If you've never read a Holmes story before, you may find the first novel a little difficult to grasp, as it has a thick plot, and tends to drag on a bit. But all of the short stories are written perfectly and describe Holmes and Watson's friendship progress. They all have a unique plot and disserve individual attension.
If you like Holmes and/or mystery stories, then this is the book for you! so buy it!
So up until a couple of years ago I had no interest in Sherlock Holmes, crime fiction is just a genre that though i've dabbled in never gripped me. I have a friend that had been trying to get me to read Holmes for years so to get him off my back I finally did and to be honest regret heavily having put it off and understand why Sherlock has not only been such a success but also why they've stood the test of time so brilliantly.
It's not so much, at least fo me, Arthur Conan Doyle's writing, nor his clever and rather unique plots and twists though those are good but the incredible characters. Holmes himself is strange to the extreme and yet feels so real almost to give the impression that what he does could truly be possible, almost ordinary as he himself puts it. Watson makes the perfect counter point for Holmes, certainly not a stupid man by any stretch but completely grounded so that Holmes seems like a magician and is the perfect voice for the readers "how did you do that?" All very clever and puts most modern work to shame.
Arthur Conan Doyle was also rather a prolific writer with 56 short stories and 4 novels ( A study in Scarlet, The Sign of the Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Valley of Fear). He proved to be such a popular character that even trying to kill him off to write something else brought outcries from fans forcing him to bring it back. The collection will take a long time to read all the way through, I was unaware how much going in though it's all worth it and easy to pick up and put down after a short story or two.
The book is also gorgeous if you get the leatherbound edition, it looks like the sort of Victorian novel Holmes would have lying around somewhere. Great for fans of which I have very much become since.
+ Clever plotlines and twists.
+ Holmes is just a superb character.
+ Great value, 60 high quality stories.
+ Book is beautiful.