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Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Reviewed.

It must all have been said, of course. So, this review is likely to say more about me than about the author or his tales. In common with most people, I've witnessed the transfer of the written words onto the small screen in many versions and for many of the stories held in this collection. That connection naturally informs the reader. I enjoyed the reading, but, unusually for me, found the TV programs more entertaining and even more credible.

There are passages of fairly wooden dialogue and some of the descriptions of events leave a lot to be desired. The plots are, of course, wonderfully intricate, surprising and satisfying, as you'd expect. But there is a lot that the reader's expected to accept on trust. I suspect that much of the 'deduction' is open to question if analysed in any depth. Holmes expresses certainty about matters than can often only really be conjecture. But none of this detracts from the experience, of course.

Conan Doyle is as much a part of the English psyche as Dickens and Shakespeare and it's a brave man who would criticise such genius.

It took me rather longer to read this anthology than I'd expected; all sorts of interruptions took me away from the reading, but I also found I wasn't as compelled to read as I have been with many other books.

Gentle and often quite homely, apart from the more violent stories, the style is definitely of its time. I suspect many young readers will find some of the references so obscure as to be meaningless, but that's part of the charm. Like most readers, I approached this book fully aware that my previous exposure to the characters and some of the stories was bound to influence the experience.

One small technical niggle: whoever formatted the book for the Kindle, on which I read this, made a poor job of work on the symbols and the foreign punctuation. There's hardly a story that doesn't contain an odd set of characters either representing the £ sign or some of the French accents.

This was an interesting read without being astounding or particularly instructive for a writer. Would I read more? Probably not. Did I enjoy what I read? By and large, yes.

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