The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes is the final set of twelve Sherlock Holmes short stories (56 total) by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in the Strand Magazine between October 1921 - April 1927.The Case-Book contains three stories not narrated by Dr. Watson, as most Sherlock Holmes stories are. "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" is narrated in the third person, since it was adapted from a stage play in which Watson hardly appeared. "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier" and "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" are both narrated by Holmes himself, the latter being set after his retirement.The original chronological order in which the twelve stories in The Case-Book were published is as follows: "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" (told in third-person) "The Problem of Thor Bridge" "The Adventure of the Creeping Man" "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client" "The Adventure of the Three Gables" "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier" (narrated by Holmes) "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" (narrated by Holmes) "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman" "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger" "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place" Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger. He was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels.Sherlock Holmes is a London-based "consulting detective" whose abilities border on the fantastic, Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to adopt almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve difficult cases. Holmes, who first appeared in publication in 1887, was featured in four novels and 56 short stories.Novels: A Study in Scarlet (1887), The Sign of the Four (1890), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) and The Valley of Fear (1915).Short stories: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894), The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905), His Last Bow (1917) and The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927). [Elib]
Arthur Conan Doyles preface to “The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes”
Yes, farewell, dear Sherlock Holmes! I have now read the entire Holmes corpus by Arthur Conan Doyle. This last collection is a worthy farewell to a great detective - and I like the variety of the cases. A rich women in peril, lovers on the run, a missing soldier, a disfigured woman, a priceless jewel and a slight touch of vampirism (which the logical thinking Holmes of course discard as superstition).
Again I like the victorian setting and atmosphere of the stories - even if they are not all clever whodunnit stories, it’s a sheer delight to see Holmes in action - and his special relationship with Dr. Watson - a touching example we find in the "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" where Watson gets shot in the leg.
Holmes: You're not hurt, Watson? For God's sake, say that you are not hurt!
Watson: It was worth a wound - it was worth many wounds - to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.
As it happens we were both new to these stories (though we are avid fans of the modern tv show - Sherlock). As newcomers to the works of Conan Doyle, we were neither particularly impressed with the stories, nor disappointed with them. Homes remains an irritatingly smug character and Watson annoyingly servile; but the stories are well enough crafted and sufficiently different from each other to be interesting. Though I would say that the original isn’t a patch on the TV version!
However we were disappointed with the reading by Derek Jacobi. Perhaps I had unrealistically high expectations but I would have expected that he could do more than one distinct upper class English accent. As it was, we found the voices of Sherlock and Watson hard to distinguish from one another.
I'm almost amazed it passed the censors, but the roaring 20s were far more lax than the aughts.
Personally, I prefer Sherlock in short story form, and this is probably the best introduction to him anyone could hope for. It is surprising how many of the stories in this one are not that well-known, probably because the world of TV and fim has tended to neglect this one.
-the short stories are much better than the novels
I had not previously read any of Doyle's shorter Holmes stories. I'd explored his supernatural fiction, (which I must say, I prefer), and I'd read THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, (which is as good as the supernatural stories), but somehow I'd never quite gotten around to the short stories that made him a household name in the first place. I'm glad I finally made the time.
I must admit, though, I mostly found myself comparing Doyle to Agatha Christie. I've read nearly everything Christie's written, and I can really see how Doyle's work influenced her. Even though I was coming to them for the first time, the structure of these stories was very familiar. Brilliant private detective with a great sense of his own importance? Check. Slightly clueless - but still useful - sidekick, with whom the brilliant detective used to share rooms? Check. Police force eager to take advantage of the brilliant detective's skills? Check.
There are differences, true, but on the whole Poirot and Hastings owe more than a little to Holmes and Watson.
The stories themselves are fun enough. You've got a good mystery of the guess-along type, all dressed up in Doyle's engaging style. They were quite entertaining, and I was frequently pleased with myself for guessing the denouement.
However, I often got the feeling that Doyle's heart wasn't in it anymore. I kept thinking about how he'd killed Holmes off. It seems to me that you don't go and kill a character off unless a) it'll tug at your readers' heartstrings, b) you're sick and tired of writing about him, or c) all of the above. Maybe I was unduly prejudiced by the bits of hearsay and the like that I've picked up on over the years, but this lack of authorial interest, (imagined or not), made it difficult for me to really engage with the stories. They were fun. I had a good time guessing along and thinking about how they fit into the mystery genre as a whole. But none of them really jumped out at me, and I feel all right about passing this along to someone else.
(A slightly different version of this review originally appeared on my blog, Stella Matutina).
The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes is the last volume of his stories. While his cases are as usual mainly chronicled by his dear friend John Watson, this volume also features stories narrated by the detective himself. In the reading process this change in narrative perspective becomes rather obvious and emphasizes the logical way of Holmes' thinking. In comparison to Watson's narration, Holmes is very straightforward and tells everything without further ado. In one case he already gives away the solution somewhere in the middle of the story, only to remark that this would not have happened, had Watson told the story.
It is somewhat sad that there will not be any new Sherlock Holmes stories anymore after having followed him for such a long time, that is four novels and 56 short stories. Then again, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes is a worthy finish for a great series of stories. Highly recommendable, 4 stars.
The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, first published in book form in 1927, is the final collection of short stories. By this time in his career, Doyle was tired of writing Sherlock Holmes stories. He even killed his detective off in the last story in The Final Problem. No fictional character, however, is ever truly dead.
David Stuart Davies, in the afterword to this book, claims that these stories are the bottom scrapings of the barrel. The stories are not bad, "rather they are disappointing in construction and surprising in their unpleasantness. ... We can see that while some of the stories are weak in plot development they are also fascinating because of the dark and cruel nature of their content" (297).
Despite Davies' write-up, I enjoyed the stories. The darkness in content reflects the ethos of a world at war. It was also interesting to read the voice of Sherlock Holmes in two of these stories. (Typically Doyle wrote in the voice of Watson, Holmes' assistant.) Doyle did well at differentiating his perspective from Watson's in the prose.
If this is the weakest collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, I'm really going to enjoy the strong ones!