Book Review: The Complete Work of Sherlock Holmes

The Complete Sherlock Holmes on Kindle has four novels:

A Study in Scarlet
The Sign of the Four
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Valley of Fear

and also contains 56 short stories.

I had been working through this book rather slowly in comparision to other books, even though this is a larger book than many I have read before; nothing here really grabbed me.  Every story finished in the same way and Holmes always catches his man due to how he thinks and Watson is pretty much there to observe, be awestruck and to document the cases.

This of course doesn’t mean it’s a bad read, there is an obvious reason why Sherlock Holmes is so well known, because Conan Doyle has written him in such a way that no one can really reflect themselves on him, instead they connect more to Watson and be amazed at his clever mind to come up with such conclusions.

There are moments when you can see Conan Doyle has changed up his writing, nothing dramatic but more giving Watson a bit more light to see his own home life than to be fully focused on Sherlock.

As interesting a character many might find Sherlock; which is many because he doesn’t appear to be interested in women – which would have been unusual at the time – his intelligence is far above anyone else’s in the book, not even his faithful companion Watson can keep up to him, though Sherlock keeps reminding him ‘You know my methods’ and reminds him that although Watson and he see the same things, Sherlock actively thinks about them, like the steps up to their apartment in Baker Street for example.  You get the general feel of Sherlock as a man who is fine being alone, who doesn’t need much company, so long as he can be thinking – always thinking – solving problems for the police or his clients, listening or playing or composing his own music, or even using drugs for the times when he has nothing to do and can’t stand having nothing to engage his mind to.

However Watson, the man who is chronicling the mysteries of Sherlock, is the man who is a mystery in his self.  We know that he had been in a war and was injured because of it – although it changes from book to book about his injury – he’s married and his first name is John (must be said that his name was only used once in one of the books by his wife), also that he is a doctor and has a medical practice, but we know nothing of his own intelligence.  There is none of his own vices on display here or his loves, whereas we can see clearly Sherlock’s loves and vices, it makes the man who is writing all this come out as a nice little mystery of his own, which might be the point.

Would this book be worth reading though if you are into the BBC series of Sherlock? Or indeed the movie? A short answer would be, no.  In the movie Sherlock is attracted to and does have his way with certain women; while the BBC Sherlock is a bit more complicated.  Although that character isn’t interested in women, the most notable being Irene Adler, many viewers could take it to mean that he was interested in her, given his confused state.  However in the book Sherlock wasn’t really interested in Irene Adler as a women, it was her mind that interested him; however once she was out of the picture she was promptly forgotten about.

I would given this book a 4 out of 5, because although the stories did begin to merge into one another, there was still that nice air of mystery about them, Sherlock would have to explain how he came to conclusion and then you would understand it.

If you have a Kindle The Complete Work of Sherlock Holmes is free to download.

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