The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is interesting, intriguing, and adventurous collection of 11 stories with light and dark themes. This is very much similar in style and tone with previous book, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes #4) by Arthur Conan Doyle
Publication Date : December 1, 1893
Publisher : Bantam Classic (my copy is a collection of novels and stories, reissue edition of 2003)
Read Date : September 14, 2022
Genre : Classic / Mystery
Tea for this book : Saffron Tea
Previous books in this series I read –
‘If I were assured of your eventual destruction I would, in the interests of the public, cheerfully accept my own.’
In The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, the consulting detective’s notoriety as the arch-despoiler of the schemes concocted by the criminal underworld at last gets the better of him.
Though Holmes and his faithful sidekick Dr Watson solve what will become some of their most bizarre and extraordinary cases – the disappearance of the race horse Silver Blaze, the horrific circumstances of the Greek Interpreter and the curious mystery of the Musgrave Ritual among them – a criminal mastermind is plotting the downfall of the great detective.
Half-devil, half-genius, Professor Moriarty leads Holmes and Watson on a grisly cat-and-mouse chase through London and across Europe, culminating in a frightful struggle which will turn the legendary Reichenbach Falls into a water double-grave . . .
Review of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is enjoyable collection of 11 stories, 11 cases more Watson accounted that happened in no particular order. This is very much similar to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in terms of themes, tone, and randomness but it still have some surprising elements that came as the introduction of new characters. Note that I’m giving this full star because of those new characters.
I don’t read this series back to back and in a way is good decision as I wouldn’t feel awe because of same writing and narration style, even though the cases are different. But after reaching at this point in story, I’m very much familiar with both main characters, their gifts, skills, style and flaws. It’s required to have some gap to fully enjoy Sherlock and Watson and their extraordinary cases and adventures. However, one thing is sureshot- no matter how similar the style and tone is in all books of this series, it’s always hard to put down once you start reading the book, such is the charisma of Sherlock’s inference and observations and Watson’s curiosity and friendship.
Here is short reviews of each story in this collection-
Silver Blaze-missing horse and murder story. Couldn’t predict a single thing. Impressive first story.
Yellow Face – This is doubting husband story who wanted to know what is his wife’s secret. This has been really interesting and I have to say I went along with Sherlock’s theory as I believed the same but like Sherlock it surprised me to be wrong and I loved the way Sherlock took it.
The Stock-Broker’s Clerk – Story of fraud and deceit. I figure the man was fishy and he has some plan and work he has given to clerk is not of great importance but didn’t figure out their motive until revealed.
The Gloria Scott – It’s the story of past secret and blackmail that brought eagerly death of Sherlock’s one and only college friend. it’s Sherlock’s first case, not exactly case but the event that made him consider his detective skill seriously and turn into profession. It’s also not the case because Sherlock didn’t have to solve it but it intrigued him highly and me as well and that’s why it’s my most favorite story so far.
The Musgrave Ritual – This is so far the best I read in this collection. It’s also one of the earliest case of Sherlock brought to him by his college friend. The mystery and puzzle is really interesting. Treasure and vengeance make a deadly combination here. I could see the fate of the butler even before he found the place but what they found was most interesting. Like Sherlock loves to say it was most extraordinary case and another favorite.
The Reigate Puzzle – This started with Sherlock being ill after solving the international case that made him most famous. He and Watson take the much required break in the countryside at Watson’s friend’s house. But when you are passionate and love your work it follows you and so Sherlock and Watson get the case. Case wasn’t much big but it’s Sherlock’s habit to keep the information to himself until the end made it most curious. We again see how brilliant actor Sherlock is.
The Crooked Man – This was definitely interesting. During the fight between husband and wife, husband drops dead, who was a colonel in British army. There was no clue in the case, just the missing key that indicated the presence of third person. What a story of betrayal, guilt, and opportunist.
The Resident Patient – at first it was story of scare, a doctor’s investor, living as resident patient, was facing but as soon as Sherlock meets the Resident patient,it’s clear he is keeping secret that bring him terrible fate. This definitely was interesting story of secrets, deceit, betrayal and vengeance.
The Greek Interpreter – it’s first time Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, is mentioned who is much sharper than Sherlock. It was great to read more about him and like Watson I was in awe of seeing both brothers at their best. Story was quite dark one that Sherlock couldn’t solve in time but as most of his stories show evil gets its coupons sooner or later. My favorite because of Mycroft’s introduction.
The Navel Treaty – This was complex, another story with opportunist villain. I had idea who the culprit might be but not exactly why and how Sherlock would catch the person.
The Final Problem – We are introduced the famous Professor Moriarty. From the beginning the way Watson writes this, it’s clear Sherlock dies in this so I was curious to know what Sherlock declaring retirement if he could defeat Moriarty in itself speaks volumes. I enjoyed the conversation between both Moriarty and Sherlock and they both singing each other’s praises in their own style is interesting to read. It amazed me to see Sherlock getting excited with threat on his life. Even after days from finishing the book, I’m still thinking why he didn’t get away or stopped Watson when he saw through that trick in the end. I can’t wait to see how he will return now.
All these stories make perfect balance of light and dark theme. Some stories are easy to predict while most stories are super intriguing making it hard to see where it will go and as Sherlock would like to point out, not all cases are success. Again, I loved reading this collection and I highly recommend this if you have enjoyed previous books in this series or even watched movies.
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