As all Sherlockians know, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had become disenchanted with his creation and seemingly rather finally killed him off in 1893 by dropping him into the seething abyss of the Reichenbach falls. But the public were not to be denied, and Doyle was induced to publish the Hound of the Baskervilles in 1902 (though still set before Holmes' supposed death) and, following the success of that story he penned a series of short stories for monthly publication in 1903/4 in which he resurrected the great Detective and described his career through the latter half of the 1890's. This collection of 13 stories gathered together and published as a book in 1905 was the result.
The thirteen stories here are some of my favourites in the Holmes canon. The Empty House sees the return of our hero from hiss self imposed exile. It seems that a decade earlier Doyle had already considered resurrection for Holmes, as he had the actual occurrence happen off page, making it easy for him to bring him back. As well as the drama of the return, there is also some high drama surrounding the death of Ronald Adair, and the hunt for his murderer. The series then runs through The Adventure of the Norwood Builder, The Adventure of the Dancing Men, The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist, The Adventure of the Priory School, The Adventure of Black Peter, The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, The Adventure of the Three Students, The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez, The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter, The Adventure of the Abbey Grange and The Adventure of the Second Stain, and sees Holmes engaged to be married, spearing pigs with harpoons, cycling through the fens and generally bringing the truth to light and villains to justice.
Well written, with engaging mysteries and a sense of adventure, these are thrilling tales that will keep the reader gripped. Just as interesting as the mysteries are the tales that are not told -in these stories Watson gives us intriguing glimpses of other cases, such as that of the notorious canary trainer. I really wish that some of these had been written! 5 stars for this gripping and entertaining set.
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