The case-book of Sherlock Holmes

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Paper Book, 1993

Status

Available

Publication

Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1993

User reviews

LibraryThing member ctpress
And so, reader, farewell to Sherlock Holmes! I thank you for your past constancy, and can but hope that some return has been made in the shape of that distraction from the worries of life and stimulating change of thought which can only be found in the fairy kingdom of romance.
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.
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LibraryThing member yosarian
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes read by Robert Hardy is an audio book containing only 4 of the 12 stories in the collection of the same name. I have the stories but I have also bought a few of these condensed audio book collections simply because I think Robert Hardy is marvellous at bringing Sherlock Holmes to life. I have a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories on audio (Legends of Radio: The Ultimate Sherlock Holems Collection - not written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) from America in the 1940's and '50's narrated by such acting luminaries as Orson Welles, Basil Rathbone and Sir John Gielgud but they don't come close to Robert Hardy. If you get a chance to listen to him reading the Sherlock Holmes stories then grab it I say!
The first story in the audio book collection is; The Adventures of The Sussex Vampires. Holmes receives a letter from Robert Ferguson who is convinced that his Peruvian wife is sucking the blood of their child like a vampire as the boy has bite marks in his neck and is ill. This lady is Mr Ferguson's second wife and it transpires that she is not to blame but her stepson Jack is to blame who is jealous of the his step-brother.
The second story is; The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, a lovely mystery for Holmes with a gentleman, Mr Nathan Garrideb (who is a recluse and never leaves his flat), being spun a web of lies about an inheritance being given to an American, Mr John Garrideb, on the proviso that he finds two other gentlemen with his unusual surname. The american Garrideb insists that Nathan accompanies him to Birmingham where he has found a third Garrideb so he can claim his inheritance. Of course all is not as it seems and it is up to Holmes to untangle the lies and discover why the American wants Nathan out of his house.
The third story is; The Adventure of the Three Gables opens with some beautifully comic accents from Robert Hardy as Steve Dixie, an ex-boxer, threatens Holmes to stay away from Harrow (where Holmes has just received a letter from a lady in distress requiring his services). Mrs Maberley of Harrow has been offered a sum of money for her house more than it is worth but only if she will sell her house and all of the contents of it, which of course makes her suspicious and her suspicions are compounded by people spying one her. After a robbery at her house after she refuses to sell Holmes works out that they were after a manuscript written by her recently deceased son of a lurid affair between himself and a wealthy woman, Isadora Klein, who did not want the story to come out. After trying to obtain the manuscript legally (by buying the house and contents, the manuscript being in the house) she resorts to stealing it and burning the manuscript. Holmes, not above breaking the law himself at times in his career, blackmails Isadora into paying for a round the world trip for Mrs Maberley (something she had always wanted to do) as compensation for the robbery.
The last story in this audio collection is; The Adventure of the Lion's Mane more famous perhaps for being narrated by Holmes himself and not Dr Watson. Now retired Holmes is enjoying the quiet life and seclusion of Sussex when the local science teacher is killed in mysterious circumstances. In asking about the teacher, Fitzroy McPherson, it seems there are a number of people with reason to hate and possibly kill him. The real murder though is a Lion's Mane Jellyfish, a deadly creature that was in the bathing pool McPherson used on the coast. One possible reason that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had Holmes narrate the story and not Dr Watson is that it hinges on matters of medicine. Presumably had Watson seen the red welts on McPherson's back caused by the jellyfish he might have been able to deduce himself what had happened.
These stories are not perhaps as imaginative or well written as Doyle's earlier Holmes stories but there is still plenty of fun as Holmes explains his "elementary deductions" to Watson and if you do get a chance to hear them read by Robert Hardy I would recommend it.
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LibraryThing member Lukerik
So I have just finished all the Sherlock Holmes stories. What the hell am I supposed to do now?
LibraryThing member weakley
Compared to the rest of the collected stories this one was actually pretty dark! You can tell that the world has certainly changed since the late 1880's. Crimes are more bestial...people are less noble overall. Very glad I read this one. It was kind of refreshing after reading the rest. I enjoyed them all, but the earlier stories have the glamour of Victoriana. These ones are closer to Micky Spillane.… (more)
LibraryThing member curlycurrie
I've watched plenty of TV adaptations but this is my first read of a Sherlock Holmes book and I was hooked. Most of the stories have such simple explanations to the mysteries they hint at. Sherlock is a genius. I'm now on the look out for more Sherlock Holmes books.
LibraryThing member hashford
This product comprises a collection of 12 short detective stories across 8 CDs. This means that a story may begin and/or end in the middle of a CD. I listened to them in the car (on the daily school run) – and this didn’t particularly bother me or my daughter.

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.
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LibraryThing member mykl-s
-a year does not go by for me without rereading some Holmes
-the short stories are much better than the novels
LibraryThing member nickhoonaloon
A personal favourite I`ve revisited lately.

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.… (more)
LibraryThing member eglinton
Revel in the elegant language, arrogant sensibility, and self-assured stereotyping of late era Holmes. One can still see the appeal, as the working is well-crafted, the fabricated status quo ante of a stable elite class is reassuringly smooth, and the range of settings and locations, is pleasing. But the transparent simplicity of the identity of the wrongdoers does grate: they're nearly always easy to spot, and nearly always foreign. "Yes, she is very jealous - jealous with all the strength of her fiery tropical love" ("The Sussex Vmpires", p.105) is a typical piece of laugh-out-loud characterisation. But one shouldn't carp, we know what we're getting...… (more)
LibraryThing member sageness
GLBT-interest tag due both to the amazingly overt Holmes/Watson language in this collection AND to the one about the Boer War vet named Jimmie with the missing army buddy (hi, I suck at remembering titles), whom he refers to as "chum" (code in late-to-post-Victorian era for m/m friends with benefits) and whom he recruits Holmes to help him save entirely like a fairytale knight rescuing his fair princess.

I'm almost amazed it passed the censors, but the roaring 20s were far more lax than the aughts.
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LibraryThing member xicanti
These twelve stories make up the final adventures of Sherlock Holmes. As I understand it, Arthur Conan Doyle eventually got so fed up with the character that he killed him off... and was met with a public outcry. He resurrected his famous sleuth for a few more cases, then let him fade into the woodwork.

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).
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LibraryThing member amydross
This project was a bit of a slog, but I did have individual stories or elements of stories that I enjoyed all the way up through the final volume. It was interesting to see how they changed -- the stories in the final volume are *so* much more death and age and sickness focused than the earlier ones. Loneliness and solitude as well. From starting out as lively adventures, they take on a certain melancholy cast.… (more)
LibraryThing member OscarWilde87
It is time to bid farewell to a great literary figure. Sherlock Holmes: consulting detective and quirky mastermind. Solving problems and criminal cases merely by observation and deduction, the character of Sherlock Holmes, former resident of 221b Baker Street, has probably influenced literature for years to come. Now, he is retired.

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.
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LibraryThing member StephenBarkley
The Sherlock Holmes cannon is expansive. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 56 short stories for his detective which have been collected into 5 books. Holmes and Watson also star in four novels including The Hound of the Baskervilles. I have started my exploration of the Holmes stories at the back end.

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!
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LibraryThing member loraineo
The last collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories. Reprinted from the Strand Magazine. The illustrations are great.. fun to read and re read.
LibraryThing member AliceAnna
A couple of the stories were among the best I'd read of his. A couple were among the worst. But overall, his stories are always entertaining.
LibraryThing member ediekm1990
I listened to this in audio version so I'm not sure if it was exactly the same. The read was done by David Timson and the stories included The Problem of Thor Bridge, The Adventure of Mazarin Stone, The Adventure of the Creeping Man, The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, and The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier. This was a fun audio book to listen to. Each story is like a mystery with clues that come up as the story goes on. I always found myself trying to guess what was happening before the story revealed itself. This would be a good read for middle school students and beyond. Critical thinking comes into play a lot.… (more)

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