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on 16 July 2017
This is another one of those books that is hard to review as the main character has become so large that he has stepped of the written page and almost become real, is real to so many people. Reading this I had to try and shrink all the media back until all I had left was the written word before me, to try and imagine I was in a different world at a different time, and that no-one had ever heard the name of Sherlock Holmes.

The book is a slight one, but serves as a fitting introduction to a character who stands out almost immediately, and without overlooking things I found Watson to be an equally fascinating creation in his own right, although a much of what he says of himself is played down.

At the same time, the book itself becomes a snapshot of a different century, a London that has long gone but is still familiar in all the small ways.

The story itself sees an ‘unlucky’ Dr John Watson trying to find a place for himself after returning to England following injury and sickness has invalided him out of the army medical core. Finding accommodation in the capitol to be a little more than he can afford he is introduced by a mutual friend to another in the same situation, the slightly unusual Sherlock Holmes. Although Watson recognises there is a strangeness to Holmes he is attracted to the man’s observations and eccentricities and the two end up sharing rooms at 221B Baker Street.

Holmes, it would seem is a consulting detective, spending all his time learning bits and pieces from countless disciplines in order to make himself not just good, but one of the best in the field, something that combined with his mind make him excellent. He is aware of his genius, but does not feel the need to boast about it, more than happy to let others take credit for his work. It would seem as long as a few people, like Watson know and accept the truth then he is happy.

Even so, it seems as though he is getting bored of what he is doing, very rarely seeing the need to leave the house to investigate, but when he is presented with a more than interesting case and with a little cajoling from Watson he begins to investigate what becomes their first case together. The mystery is that of a dead body in an empty house, with no sign of violence, but a message written in blood on the wall in another room brings opens a mystery that seem almost impossible to solve…

It goes without saying that Holmes manages to solve it and in an entertaining style. Conan-Doyle is a great storyteller, keeping the reader enthralled and bringing them back again and again so that the pages seem to fly by! The world of which he is writing is modern to him, so there are some lovely touches that help open the world to another time for us.

The resolution to the story is satisfying, although it might be considered slightly annoying to watch Holmes start to work it out, but not reveal everything until he talks Watson through it at the end.

There is an unusual set up in that we get the murder and mystery, see it virtually resolved, then get thrown back in time to another continent as we are shown the events that led up to the murder, before having Holmes and Watson back to wrap it up. It is an interesting device to use, but it does come across a quite a break, snapping the reader out of the story and then back in again. I will not deny that the story as presented is interesting, but it seems an odd way of going about it.

The revelation itself is a good one. It shows that things are not as clear cut as they might have seemed and the sympathies of the reader (well this one) were not where I would have thought they would have been.

There is a little bit of a rather neat wrap up, but it did not detract from the story too much.

Most importantly you can see why Holmes and Watson were to become the iconic figures they deserved.
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on 21 January 2013
After watching the recent movies I decided to take a look at the original Sherlock Holmes stories and have not been dissapointed and am now in the process of working my way through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's set of novels. This book is a great start as it sets the scene for the famous relationship between Holmes and Watson and then embarks on the mystery. Apart from a great story these books take you back into the streets of classic London and provide a snapshot of life as it was. Be careful though because once you start it is difficult to stop. I also have to rate these Kindle editions, low cost or free they are great especially 'The Adventures of' and The Memoirs of' as they also have the wonderful timless illustrations providing a snapshot of particular scenes I suppose the way Doyle imagined it. Enjoy - phil@mixitsailing.co.uk
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on 25 February 2017
So refreshing to go back to the original story, and great to be able to get the ebook for free. Hadn't read this for many years, but it's timeless in quality and appeal, and I'm now going to work my way through all the Sherlock Holmes stories
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on 16 January 2013
After watching Sherlock on BBC, I thought I'd read the books, and so I brought this one and it was great! The books slim and easily to carry around and to read. Going to buy the others now!
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on 16 March 2012
These books are manufactured to a size and style that is very attractive to hold, The author and stories are of course, well known The binding, paper, print and gold-edging is very nice , Iv'e bought the whole Holmes collection by this Publisher, and are reading them all. very handy pocket size.
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on 10 June 2017
I felt this was the best of the Sherlock Holmes books that I've read. It seems to have two stories, both of which are excellent.
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on 9 June 2016
Excellent stories still as gripping as when they were written
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on 24 February 2014
I never thought I would find the exact book I was looking for - just goes to show searching on line really does pay off.
Would love to see more old books!
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VINE VOICEon 10 November 2012
This, the very first Sherlock Holmes story, is a re-read, I have read the whole canon several times before. It is particularly striking as being a story of two halves. After the initial meeting between Holmes and Watson - surely one of the most significant and memorable literary acquaintanceships - the story of murder unfolds against the London backdrop that is considered so typically Sherlockian. The mystery is solved half way through. The second half is then a sympathetic backstory of why the murderer committed his crimes, which takes us to Utah and the Mormons (whose cultish nature depicted here is the source of the evil). This is very atypical Conan Doyle material, but brilliantly and dramatically described, his evocation of the bleak and barren landscape every bit as convincing as that of the more familiar foggy London streets. No doubt this contrastingly wide spaced environment is part of the reason why this story has been much less adapted for the screen than Hound of the Baskervilles (Dartmoor is more accessible and realisable than the Utah desert!) or The Sign of Four (set in London). But this is a real classic that deserves to be better known as the beginning of a literary legend. 5/5
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Here we have the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, in this the first of only four novels as the rest of the tales were short stories. Nowadays everyone has heard of Holmes, but this was published with very little interest from the public. One reason for this may be that apart from ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ the other novels have never proved as popular as the short tales. Another reason also is rather ironic as mention is made in this book of Lecoq a fictional French detective who was arguably the most famous detective in the world until Holmes eventually usurped him from his place, and the creator and author of him and other crime tales, Emile Gaboriau, in which the structure of this novel does bear some resemblance to its format.

Watson returns from Afghanistan suffering injuries after the Second Afghanistan War. Looking for somewhere to rent in London a former friend and colleague of his points him in the direction of a certain Sherlock Holmes who is looking for someone to share rooms with, thus creating that famous partnership that we are all aware of. It does take some time for Watson to realise what his flatmate does for a living, but he does soon pick up on his rather vain conceit.

With a mysterious murder committed Watson finds himself with Holmes investigating, whilst both Gregson and Lestrade from the Yard of course mess things up with false conclusions. Not as well written as stories that were to come later this still does make for an enjoyable read as we see Holmes in his element, solving crimes that seem to others to be impossible of solution. Also, for those who are coming to the Sherlock stories for the very first time this does show you how they came to be living and working together. In all then this is still very much an enjoyable read that should give you much pleasure.
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