Book Review: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Back when I was in primary school we used to start every day with reading time. We’d get to pick from the little bookcase and read for a bit, it was great. One of the books I stumbled across was one of the Sherlock Holmes collections and I loved it. The stories were well written and featured some wonderful mysteries. I reread the book a few times because it stood head and shoulders above everything else our mini library offered.

I haven’t read them again in years, but inspired by the BBC’s wonderful series Sherlock I thought I’d return to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories and picked up this collection for my Kindle.

memoirs sherlock holmes

The book features 11 stories of Holmes’ mysteries, all narrated from the perspective of Doctor John Watson, his companion in crime solving. The device of Watson’s narration is a great asset to Doyle’s stories. Unlike Poirot’s partner Hastings he actually appears to be of some use to his detective partner and relatively smart in his own right, and this intelligence makes him a far more likable and engaging narrator.

Watson’s narration is warm with affection for Holmes and little insights into the detective’s character help soften what could be a serious, pretentious analytical mind, but he’s shown to be an excitable, funny and oddly charming fellow.

The stories zip along with real verve and kept me hooked throughout, even those that I was already familiar with or could work out what’s going on. Doyle is a great writer and his stories are wonderfully enjoyable. Some of the cases show the attitudes of the time, but they never feel overly dated and rely on the traditional themes for crime stories- greed, blackmail etc.

Everyone should give these a go, and I think most people will enjoy them.

Verdict: Wonderfully written and inventive, Doyle writes with verve and wit and it’s his writing that explains why the character of Holmes remains popular to this day. 8/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


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