Monday, June 1, 2009

76. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

August 2007
History: These are the first of the Sherlock Holmes short stories, originally published as single stories in the Strand Magazine from July 1891 to June 1892. The book was published in England on October 14, 1892. The book is a collection of twelve stories.
Plot: Each story has a separate plot not outlined in this book review.
Review: The “Adventures” is a set of 12 short stories built on top of the same template - someone comes to Holmes, complains of a problem. Holmes listens and usually forms a solution right away. Sometimes, it takes him another day or two of searching around to solve the problem. Even though it’s so simplistic, these stories are a lot of fun to read. Forgive me the comparison, but that Holmes would be one hell of a hacker had he lived today. He loves collecting reference information, does research on topics like cigar ashes and clay types of London areas, and immerses himself in all nighters of chemical experiments. Clearly, he has the hacker attitude.
Another thing I noticed is the “meta”-references of the book to itself. In multiple places, Holmes mentions that Watson is putting these memoirs to writing, and often adds that Watson often exaggerates his (Holmes’s) humble achievements. This way, the book actually refers to itself - which is cool.
Opening Line: “To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman.”
Closing Line: “As to Miss Violet Hunter, my friend Holmes, rather to my disappointment, manifested no further interest in her when once she had ceased to be the centre of one of his problems, and she is now the head of a private school at Walsall, where I believe that she has met with considerable success.”
Quotes: “Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the inquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems.”
“A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.”
Rating: Okay.

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