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Greater London - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

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GREATER LONDON
 
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
 
Synopsis:
Out of his smoke-filled rooms in Baker Street stalks a figure to cause the criminal classes to quake in their boots and rush from their dens of inequity … The twelve mysteries gathered in this first collection of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson’s adventures reveal the brilliant consulting detective at the height of his powers. Problems involving a man with a twisted lip, a fabulous blue carbuncle and five orange pips tax Sherlock Holmes’ intellect alongside some of his most famous cases, including A Scandal in Bohemia and The Red-Headed League.
 
Other Greater London books:

There are so many options for Greater London, that you can also look at London Fiction thread.

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I read this for the challenge and then forgot to post in here!  In terms of the challenge, parts of it definitely capture the county of Greater London, albeit in Victorian times.  :)  

 

This review is copied from my blog.

 

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As my next book was to be The House of Silk for my book club, Anthony Horowitz’s take on Sherlock Holmes, I thought I’d better try the real thing! I chose this particular one, despite it not being the first book to feature Holmes, because it is a Counties Challenge book.

It’s a collection of 12 stories including such tales as Scandal in Bohemia about a woman who holds a photo of the King of Bohemia, which, if it got into the wrong hands, would have far reaching consequences for the him, The Adventure of the Speckled Band where a woman visits Holmes in fear of her life after her sister has died in mysterious circumstances which now seem to be repeating themselves for her, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches about a young woman who is offered a position as a governess, on the condition she cuts her auburn hair into a particular style and agrees to wear clothes given to her by her employer.

Holmes, together with his good friend Dr James ‘John’ Watson investigate these cases, often putting themselves in great peril. I very much enjoyed the stories and I loved Holmes and Watson’s friendship.

I have seen, and loved, the BBC’s Sherlock featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character in a modern setting but hadn’t read the books or seen any of the TV adaptations. Having read this, I wonder why I left it until now to read any of the books featuring this brilliant detective and his trusty sidekick!

Coincidentally, immediately after finishing this book I was channel hopping on TV and noticed one of the ITV Sherlock adaptations from the 1980s (ITV?) TV adpatation featuring Jeremy Brett as the great detective was on one of the Freeview channels. It was The [Adventure of the] Speckled Band and was a great adaptation – seems I should have tried it when it first aired!
 

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This is the first Sherlock Holmes book I've read.  It was difficult to approach it without thinking about the television and film adaptations I've seen, so I decided to try and stick with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in my head as Holmes and Watson, as I loved those old 1930s/40s black and white films.

 

I really enjoyed reading the stories, each one took about half an hour, so it was nice to read one, then have a break before going onto the next one.  Having said that, what I found difficult was that a case could be introduced, investigated and solved within such a short space of time.  Each time I got to the end of a story, I wished it had been fleshed out more, but then again, short stories often make the best move from the page to the big screen, as they can be faithful and not need anything cut out, so perhaps they were more successful than I give them credit for! :D

 

For me, one of the other downsides of the short story format, is that I didn't feel there was much character development in the two leads from one story to the next, it was almost like they were fully formed characters and didn't need to grow, as the cases they solved were the important factors, not the detectives themselves.  I'm not sure they really give that much of a flavour of Greater London as such, but it's clear this is the setting for the stories, but the society of the time is more in focus than the location.

 

This is becoming far more of a negative review than I intended!  I really did enjoy the stories, they were intriguing and entertaining, and I'm really interested to read The Hound of the Baskervilles for Devon, as it will be a full length novel and there'll be more room to develop the story. :)

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