The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Silver Blaze The Adventure of the Yellow Face The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk The Adventure of the "Gloria Scott" The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual The Adventure of the Reigate Squires The Adventure of the Crooked Man The Adventure of the Resident Patient The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter The Adventure of the Navel Treaty The Final Problem...

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Title:The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Author:Arthur Conan Doyle
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Edition Language:English

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes Reviews

  • Terry

    Another series of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes as reported by his faithful biographer Dr. Watson and it becomes clearer than ever that the real draw of these stories is the fascinating character of Holmes himself. The mysteries are secondary to the enjoyment, though many of them do prove to have distinct elements of interest (otherwise why would the great detective have bothered himself about them?), but it really is in observing the fascinating character of Holmes himself that the reader i

    Another series of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes as reported by his faithful biographer Dr. Watson and it becomes clearer than ever that the real draw of these stories is the fascinating character of Holmes himself. The mysteries are secondary to the enjoyment, though many of them do prove to have distinct elements of interest (otherwise why would the great detective have bothered himself about them?), but it really is in observing the fascinating character of Holmes himself that the reader is immersed in them. Indeed, this collection provides a rare treat for the reader in that we learn more about the detective and his early life and connections than has previously been the case. Thus it was that some of the most interesting stories here, for me at least, were those that hearkened back to Holmes’ youth and showed us the man he was and in which we can see the seeds of the man he would come to be.

    The first of these in this book is “The Adventure of the Gloria Scott” – The primary interest in this tale comes from the glimpse it gives us to Holmes’ first ‘case’ (though the following tale, “The Musgrave Ritual” is really better classified as his first actual case, since the Gloria Scott comes across more as an intriguing mystery to which Holmes is largely a spectator) and the impetus for his decision to become a detective. We also get a glimpse at Holmes’ college days and of the only friend he made there (and thus far in the stories the only friend at all that he seems to have ever had aside from Watson). Finally this tale gives us a glimpse of a young Holmes still capable of emotion and surprise to the point that he cries out in horror at certain circumstances that, in later tales, would have left little other than a wry smile and remark of interest on his lips.

    As noted above “The Musgrave Ritual” provides us with a look at what could probably be considered Holmes’ first real case in which another University acquaintance of Holmes’ comes to him, based on his youthful reputation, with an apparently insoluble puzzle that revolves around the man’s lothario butler and a bizarre family tradition. Holmes of course breaks the case and takes no small relish in recounting the strange tale of an event “done prematurely before my biographer had come to glorify me” to his friend Watson.

    “The Greek Interpreter” continues in our discovery of the details of the mysterious past of Sherlock Holmes as we discover he actually does have a family and did not, as might seem more likely, spring from the brow of Zeus full grown. We in fact meet his older brother Mycroft, a man even more withdrawn from normal human society than his brother, but who also seems to possess even greater observational powers (a fact that leaves both Watson and the reader shocked to say the least). It was indeed quite amusing to see the two siblings spar with each other, each vying to outdo the other’s seemingly gnomic observations upon two strangers viewed from a window, and each gently chiding and correcting the other. This scene, nothing more a game of one-upmanship between brothers, does an excellent job at both making Sherlock seem more human at the same time that it exemplifies the peculiarity of his abilities and his subsequent estrangement from other ‘normal’ people. I also wondered in passing whether the germ for Nero Wolfe was planted in the mind of Rex Stout upon reading Sherlock’s comment about his brother: “If the art of the detective began and ended in reasoning from an arm-chair, my brother would be the greatest criminal agent that ever lived.” All that is needed is Archie Goodwin to do the foot work, a brownstone in New York and we’re off to the races.

    The Memoirs even show a bizarrely puckish aspect to Holmes’ personality when, in the second to last tale “The Naval Treaty”, Holmes plays a practical joke for his own amusement at the expense of the nerves of his already rattled client…something strange indeed (though perhaps not altogether out of character given Holmes’ obvious desire to showboat and his distinct streak of misanthropy).

    Other tales in the volume that were of interest: “The Crooked Man” which I found to be a rather affecting tale of retribution in the face of personal tragedy and “The Yellow Face” which, at the same time that it displayed some squicky elements of racism and abandonment, still managed to rise above them and display a story of ultimate familial devotion and personal love.

    Of course one can’t leave off discussion of this volume without making mention of “The Final Problem” the story in which Holmes’ greatest adversary Moriarty, the Napoleon of Crime, is born. Doyle had grown weary of the public clamour for more tales of his peerless sleuth and decided it was time to end it so that he could concentrate on other characters and stories. Well, as it turns out this was not to be, but what resulted was an exciting tale in which Holmes finds himself pitted against the greatest adversary of his voluminous career. After months of playing cat-and-mouse with Moriarty and his insidious league of crime Holmes finally has gathered the pieces he needs to crush the vast criminal organization and its most dangerous leader. Moriarty, of course, is not likely to take such a possibility lying down and thus we have a final chase across London and Switzerland that ends in

    Watson’s final realization of what has happened to his friend is moving, as is the typically dry (though sincere) letter which Holmes leaves for him on the edge of Reichenbach Falls.

    All in all, while some of the tales may have been weaker than others, I can’t do anything other than give this collection a five-star rating due to the great interest of the many tales of Holmes’ early life, as well as the singular event of

  • Adrian

    This is just a wonderful , to me, walk down memory lane, re-living and re-experiencing some of the most iconic Holmes stories ever written by "Sir Arth".

    This book contains such gems as "The Musgrave Ritual", "Silver Blaze", "The Resident Patient", "The (fabulous) Greek Interpreter" - πολι καλά and of course the amazing, emotional, fatal "The Final Problem".

    The Final Problem, what can one say, I almost had tears in my eyes as

    This is just a wonderful , to me, walk down memory lane, re-living and re-experiencing some of the most iconic Holmes stories ever written by "Sir Arth".

    This book contains such gems as "The Musgrave Ritual", "Silver Blaze", "The Resident Patient", "The (fabulous) Greek Interpreter" - πολι καλά and of course the amazing, emotional, fatal "The Final Problem".

    The Final Problem, what can one say, I almost had tears in my eyes as

    ,

    So very soon I shall have commence the "Return of Sherlock Holmes".

  • Chafic (Rello)

    This has been, by far - the best of the Sherlock Holmes series for me.

    I enjoyed every single one of these short stories - not only were the mysteries themselves interesting, it is clear that the observation of Sherlock Holmes' fascinating character is what draws the attention of the reader. From his first case to his last, this has been truly enjoyable.

    I really enjoy this whole backstory. Go character development!

  • Beata

    Mr Fry is a genius of interpretation...

  • Jayson

    | Extraordinary

    Wherein Sherlock Holmes is given backstory and greater dimension, while the stories get darker and more complex.

  • Werner

    June 7, 2019

    This is Doyle's second collection of canonical Sherlock Holmes stories, containing a dozen tales originally published in

    magazine between Dec. 1892 and Nov. 1893. It's included in an omnibus volume of Holmes books that my wife gave me several years ago,

    , which is enhanced by all of the original black-and-white drawings by gifted artist Sidney Paget. I've recently begun using it to dip into when I'm between other reads; so in this in

    June 7, 2019

    This is Doyle's second collection of canonical Sherlock Holmes stories, containing a dozen tales originally published in

    magazine between Dec. 1892 and Nov. 1893. It's included in an omnibus volume of Holmes books that my wife gave me several years ago,

    , which is enhanced by all of the original black-and-white drawings by gifted artist Sidney Paget. I've recently begun using it to dip into when I'm between other reads; so in this installment I'll review only the four stories I've read so far.

    Of these four, I'd actually already read three of them elsewhere before starting this book. These are: "The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk," which is included in

    though I didn't comment on it in detail in my review of that anthology (and which is actually difficult to comment on without a spoiler); "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual," the antiquarian flavor of which, built around a strange centuries-old family tradition, make it one of my favorites in the Holmes corpus; and "The Adventure of the Final Problem." The latter story is the only one Doyle wrote in which Prof. Moriarty actually appears (he's alluded to in

    ). As well-read Holmes fans already know, it's also very pivotal in the history of the Holmes canon --but no spoilers here! :-) So the only newly-read selection here is "The Adventure of Silver Blaze." This one involves the disappearance of a race horse favored to win a major race; and though many Holmes stories don't involve murder, this case is one that comes with a corpse. I did not figure out the solution --though of course it seems pretty obvious once Holmes explains it!-- and the racing milieu might appeal to Dick Francis fans (I haven't read any of his work myself, but my wife has). More later!

    June 23, 2019

    This afternoon, I finished the remaining stories in this collection. All of them embody the characteristic features of the author's Holmes fiction: challenging intellectual puzzles that present opportunities for pure deductive reasoning, a satisfying period ambiance, human drama (sometimes with exotic features), and the comfortable Holmes-Watson interaction. While I won't comment on all of them individually, the titular box in "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box," mailed to a respectable and demure middle-aged spinster, draws the reader in immediately with its grisly contents: two severed human ears. (I'd read this one as a kid, since I recognized some of the dialogue in the beginning; but I'd otherwise forgotten it completely.) "The Adventure of the Yellow Face" was my favorite here; it's also a rare Holmes tale in which the great detective's theory of the case proves to be wrong (that's no spoiler, since Watson tells us so in the first paragraph). In "The Adventure of the 'Gloria Scott'" Doyle looks back into Sherlock's college days, to recount his first brush with the world of crime. Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's more observant and analytical brother, is introduced in "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter" (in the original canon, I believe he only appears here and in one other story). Finally, "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty" is one of a few Holmes cases that involve high stakes for British national interests.

    With critics who disparage "genre fiction" (as if general or "mainstream" fiction wasn't a genre of its own!), it's axiomatic that mysteries, for instance, don't address serious philosophical issues. Of course, mystery readers know that bringing characters face to face with issues of good and evil, crime and punishment, extremes of human moral behavior with serious stakes, is uniquely apt to suggest questions about right and wrong, meaning and purpose in the universe, and theodicy (to say nothing of social and psychological questions). True, Holmes doesn't often wax explicitly philosophical. And when he does, he's more apt to prompt readers to ask themselves the questions rather than to pose answers. But the former is something that the best of serious fiction does. I'll close with a couple of quotes:

    "What object is served by this cycle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever."

    "There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion.... Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are really necessary for our existence. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers."

  • Kelly

    Come and see the Softer Side of Sherlock Holmes! The stories in this collection focus on the revelation that: "Sherlock Holmes! He's Just Like Us!" He makes mistakes! He judges too quickly! He was once young and went to school! He had friends! He has a brother (who is, as Sherlock readily admits, smarter than he is, just without his ambition)!

    We (shockingly!) essentially find out that he is a human being. We see Sherlock has a family, and has interests other than things that have to do with his

    Come and see the Softer Side of Sherlock Holmes! The stories in this collection focus on the revelation that: "Sherlock Holmes! He's Just Like Us!" He makes mistakes! He judges too quickly! He was once young and went to school! He had friends! He has a brother (who is, as Sherlock readily admits, smarter than he is, just without his ambition)!

    We (shockingly!) essentially find out that he is a human being. We see Sherlock has a family, and has interests other than things that have to do with his work. He's a man living in his time and place in the world and is both affected by it and engaged by it- he does not live in a vaccum. He reads about politics, seems to understand the colonial system and has opinions about it, and reads other books. He does enjoy every day things, a beautiful day, a picnic, and can even be poetical (yes, really, there's a story where he philosophizes about flowers).

    But lest you think this is all the mushy stuff- the last story in this collection, "The Final Problem," introduces Professor Moriarty. And that's anything but mushy! And really, the other stories aren't really either- its just the presence of much sentiment at all seems rather unusual. There's the requisite amount of chases, nighttime frights, fights, intrigue, and murder, as ever.

    My favorites were "The Yellow Face," "The Adventure of the Crooked Man," (which has a dramatization appearance by Brian Blessed, btw), and "The Final Problem".

    A must read for those Holmes fans that like to see the charcter develop as well as solve the mysteries.

  • K.D. Absolutely

    After reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first set of 12 stories called “adventures,” comes is the second set of 11 stories called “memoirs.” I don’t know why when these stories follow the same pattern and style as those “adventures.” I read that these stories were originally published individually in 1894 in a British magazine,

    . Maybe, it was just the way of grouping these short stories.

    John Straker tries to drug the horse Silver Blaze so he can bet against him and win a lot

    After reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first set of 12 stories called “adventures,” comes is the second set of 11 stories called “memoirs.” I don’t know why when these stories follow the same pattern and style as those “adventures.” I read that these stories were originally published individually in 1894 in a British magazine,

    . Maybe, it was just the way of grouping these short stories.

    John Straker tries to drug the horse Silver Blaze so he can bet against him and win a lot of money to finance his mistress. Holmes solves the case by checking the behavior of other animals in the barn. Nothing remarkable here.

    Jack is black. Effie is white. They have Lucy who is black. Jack dies and Effie marries John. Effie hides Lucy because she is black to John. No crime for Holmes to solve. Looks like just a story on racism and not your typical Sherlock Holmes.

    Two brothers trying to fool a job applicant. A story similar to the previous ones where an undesirable person is eliminated so that the crime can be committed. Quite a good story to read even if there is no big action. I liked this one.

    This story seems not to follow the usual format: a customer comes to Holmes and Watson, they investigate, there is a cover-up, they employ the power of deduction the crime is unfolded, the situation is rectified. In this story, only the power of deduction is used and everything is flashback (memory?). I liked the fact that there is variation in this collection and of course the plot is very interesting. Gloria Scott here is the name of the ship.

    Very interesting plot. It also deviates from the usual Watson telling the story. This is the story-within-the-story (frame tale) where Holmes is the narrator recounting a story that happened before. If I understood this correctly, this is one of the first story where he used his power of deduction and that incident is very interesting because of the oak.

    A coachman, William Kirwan is found dead (murdered) holding a piece of paper with some notes appearing on it. Holmes, an expert in handwriting, deduces that those notes have been from two men. The plot is tight and stimulates thinking. Well-told.

    Holmes asks Watson to get his opinion regarding the death of a man where the prime suspect is his wife. The way the crime was put in the open is not really new but maybe during that time it was so this should be okay.

    Doctor Trevelyan is offered by Blessington good lifestyle in exchange of the professional fees that the doctor gets from his practice and by default, Blessington becomes Trevelyan’s resident patient. Then when the doctor meets another patient, the whole scheme becomes questionable. Quite interesting for me.

    This is where Holmes’ elder brother makes a debut appearance. Mycroft also has those great observation skills and power of deduction that Holmes has. It’s just that he does not have the energy so he (Mycroft) consult Holmes regarding his neighbor, Mr. Melas, the Greek interpreter. Melas is invited to translate a document but when he arrives in the house of his client, he sees that the windows are papered so the suspicion begins and the plot thickens. I liked this one too.

    An important naval treaty is found to be missing in the office of Mr. Percy Phelps, an old schoolmate of Watson. The document is taken when he was out taking some coffee. The story is a long one with each suspect and his/her possible motive is analyzed. This one made me want to become a detective. Very good analysis.

    The story that introduces Holmes’ arch-enemy and greatest opponent, the criminal mastermind, Professor Mortiarty. The 2011 film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is based in part on this short story. It ends with Holmes and Moriarty plummeting into the falls, and Watson is shown writing the final sentences of "The Final Problem" on his typewriter. Very engaging story and I can’t wait to get a copy of the film so I can watch it myself. What a nice way to end this collection!

    At some point in my reading, it became boring. I noticed that some of the stories became formulaic. I thought, what's the use of completing the canon when the reading is no longer enjoyable and becoming a chore? However, the last two stories recapped the collection quite well. So, I am off to the third collection of his short stories called "The Return of Sherlock Holmes." Again, I am not sure why these are grouped as "return." Did he rest from writing and came back by publishing these stories in series? But that is not important, the stories are nice to read!

  • Barry Pierce

    As with most short story collections, you have hits and misses. However in this collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle writes far too many misses to be it to be enjoyable. As the collection went on I found myself getting less and less invested in the stories of the great detective. I tutted and sighed at how formulaic and ridiculous some of the stories were. My utter frustration came to a vocal climax when Holmes was pushed from the Reichenbach Falls and I muttered, "thank god".

    If yo

    As with most short story collections, you have hits and misses. However in this collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle writes far too many misses to be it to be enjoyable. As the collection went on I found myself getting less and less invested in the stories of the great detective. I tutted and sighed at how formulaic and ridiculous some of the stories were. My utter frustration came to a vocal climax when Holmes was pushed from the Reichenbach Falls and I muttered, "thank god".

    If you're looking for a recommendation, give

    a go. It's a far superior collection.

  • Aishu Rehman

    The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that had originally been published in the Strand Magazine. Much like we like to watch our favorite shows with a new episode every week, the Strand published these stories and fans couldn't get enough. Readers, not unlike fans today, wanted to have a marathon, so Doyle published collections allowing them to binge out on their favorite detective. This is the second Sherlock Holmes collection and at the time i

    The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that had originally been published in the Strand Magazine. Much like we like to watch our favorite shows with a new episode every week, the Strand published these stories and fans couldn't get enough. Readers, not unlike fans today, wanted to have a marathon, so Doyle published collections allowing them to binge out on their favorite detective. This is the second Sherlock Holmes collection and at the time it was thought to be the last. At the end of the stories, Holmes fights Moriarty to the death as they fall from the edge of a cliff into a waterfall. The fandom was strong, however, and Doyle would eventually succumb to the pressure and bring Sherlock back.

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