Do you think you are smart enough to create the perfect crime?
Commit murder and get away with it? Well, this may be the case if you are starring in a movie or series. But what happens if you are part of a book? If you have Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and his little gray cells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole or Camilla Lackberg’s Erica and Patrick after you, then you simply don’t stand a chance! In crime fiction books, there is no such thing as the perfect crime.
Sherlock Holmes – The Novels
The next book I decided to review is “Sherlock Holmes – The Novels” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There isn’t much to say about Sherlock Holmes! He is one of the best-known fictional characters, even by people who don’t usually read crime novels. Robert Downy Jr. has played him in the cinema, Benedict Cumberbatch became broadly known from his character on Sherlock while in Elementary, we see Jonny Lee Miller as a former addict who assists the police with the help of Joan Watson. All series and films have something in common. They portray Sherlock Holmes as the strange, consulting detective, who uses unusual methods and his skills of observation and deduction to reach the solution of the mystery by looking at details and clues, with the help of his loyal companion Dr. Watson. But how did all this start?
Well, it all started back in late 1800, when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a doctor living on the southern coast of England, decided to try in 1886 and write a mystery story. Originally, he named his characters J. Sherrinford Holmes and Ormond Sacker, but thankfully he changed the names to the ones we know today! This book contains four stories with Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Hound of Baskervilles and the Valley of Fear.
A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet is the first novel of the book. If someone is interested in reading Sherlock Holmes, this is the story he/she should read. The reason is that this is the story where we are first introduced to the characters and we learn how Holmes and Watson meet. Dr. Watson served in the second Afghan war and was injured on the shoulder by a bullet. He returned to England and stayed in London. His financials were low and as he was considering his next moves, he meets an old acquaintance, Stamford, who informs him that Sherlock Holmes is looking for someone to share an apartment. While living together, Tobias Gregson of Scotland Yard will ask for Sherlock Holmes’ help regarding the death of an American, Enoch J. Drebber and so the adventure begins! Of course, Sherlock finds the murderer while Scotland Yard takes the credit.
The Sign of Four
The second story is The Sign of Four. Mary Morstan requests the help of Holmes to find out what happened to her father, Captain Morstan, when he mysteriously vanished after arriving in London from military services in the East. The story brings a bit of Arabian Nights and personally, I found it a bit far-fetched. That being said, it is also a story of great importance because we are introduced to Mary, who will become Dr. Watson’s wife. As this story processes, we see the affection between Mary and Dr. Watson.
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The third story is The Hound of the Baskervilles, one of the most known Sherlock Holmes’ stories. Dr. Mortimer visits Sherlock Holmes at his home at 221B Baker Street and informs him of the death of Sir Charles Baskerville and the myth of the Hound of the Baskervilles. He asks his guidance on whether Sir Henry Baskervile, the heir, should stay at the Baskerville Hall. The story begins in London but takes place, in its most part, in the English countryside. This is also the only story in the book where we learn the facts of the story while it happens through the narrative of Dr. Watson. In the other stories, we first learn the identity of the murderer and then through flashbacks, we find out the reasons behind the crime.
The Valley of Fear
The fourth and last story is The Valley of Fear. Inspector MacDonald of Scotland Yard asks Sherlock’s help to solve a mysterious crime, the death of Mr. Douglas, of Birlstone Manor House. The crime is quite peculiar because the Manor House is surrounded by a moat and at the time of the crime, the bridge was raised and there was no way for the murderer to reach and leave the house unnoticed. In this story, we also read for the first time about Moriarty, Sherlock’s nemesis. From all the stories, I liked this the most because I didn’t quite predict the twists and turns of it.
If you have never read any of Sherlock Holmes’s stories, then this collection of novels is a good start. On the other hand, bear in mind that it is also a quite long book! Another important thing to remember is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the stories in the late 1800 and begin 1900. They belong to a whole different era and you will read about horse carriages and saloons! Yet, his stories are still fascinating and interesting and one can realize that by considering the success of the films and TV-series.
Until the next review!