The Return of Sherlock Holmes

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Another bit of progress in my long-term project to reread Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes tales. This book contains 13 short stories, starting with "The Adventure of the Empty House", wherein Doyle resurrects the great detective that he killed off in "The Final Problem." Doyle took a vacation of almost a decade from Holmes; I think he came back as a better writer. (I don't know if this perception matches any sort of critical consensus.)

The Holmes in these yarns is (of course) a brilliant master of deduction, but also witty and charming. He never beats a confession out of anyone; instead, they simply give up when confronted with the sheer mass of deduction that Holmes drops on their brains. He's not above letting a murderer go free (the victim was a really bad guy), or otherwise not disclosing the true facts of the case to the authorities (when it would only cause misery to a beautiful woman).

It seems to me that Holmes also has improved relations with the bumbling Inspector Lestrade, and has positively good things to say about some other Scotland Yard employees. (Again, my impression here may be faulty.)

I found myself wishing that the writers of Elementary would steer their "Sherlock Holmes" character closer to the real one. On TV, he's kind of a humorless mopy dick, always yammering about his drug problem. Doyle's guy is more fun.


Last Modified 2014-04-24 5:35 AM EST