Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
Conan-Doyle treading water
on 2 December 2010
It's no secret that by this point Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle was bored with Sherlock Holmes and wished to let him go forever but the public kept hounding him and he only wrote them out of obligation. The lack of inspiration shows and the stories seem generic.
A few of them are not even told from Watson's perspective, with one being a rather odd third-person story and two being told by Holmes himself. Perhaps the constant narration by Watson is what led to so many movies casting Conan-Doyle lookalikes to play him as a bumbling fool who does no more than follow Holmes around. Or maybe Conan-Doyle was just trying to experiment by not sticking to formula. But Watson is missed in the story 'The Lion's Mane', in which there isn't even any damn crime committed. And there's not even any mystery in the 'Veiled Lodger' story. It was 19 pages of pointlessness!
Don't get me wrong, there are couple of good stories, such as 'The Blanched Soldier' and the one with the wife who commits suicide (the name of that story escapes me). But 'The Case of the Sussex Vampire' and 'The Creeping Gentlemen' have intriguing set-ups but lame endings. And in the case of the latter, just down-right far-fetched and ill-fitting in the Holmes universe.
I think the main problem with most of these is that the never really go anywhere. Literally. Holmes seems to solve them without even leaving his office. Come on! Let's go out and have an adventure rather than staying in and doing work!
By this point Holmes was past his prime and any discriminating fan will realize this.