I DID IT! I read the entire Sherlock Holmes Canon in less than twelve months. I began back in March of 2013 with A Study in Scarlet and read each novel and collection of stories in order. I'm so pleased to have finally read the entire canon! There were only a few stories I hadn't read, all at the end of this book, but I hadn't read most of them in many years, and this was altogether a delightful experience.
Anyway, about this particular book. I regret to say there are no outstanding stories here, though there are several enjoyable ones. I liked "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place" and "The Problem of Thor Bridge" best, and "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs" was undoubtedly my least-favorite, as it was basically a reworking of "The Red-Headed League."
Two stories are actually narrated by Sherlock Holmes in this collection, "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane," and "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier," which is quite a departure from the rest of the canon. Also, "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" is told in third person. It's entirely possible that several stories here were not written by Doyle at all, but merely approved by him and published under his name. Certainly, facts, turns of phrase, and characterizations in "Mazarin" and "The Adventure of the Three Gables" in particular don't line up with the rest of the canon.
As I mentioned above, I had never read "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane," "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger," "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place," or "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman." This is because the last time I tried to read through the whole canon, back in high school, I got as far as "The Adventure of the Creeping Man" and was so weirded out by images in it that I never read any farther. This time around, I did find that story creepy, but not too disturbing.
All in all, I'm glad to have read the entire canon at last, and to have read it all in one year like I intended, but The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes is not a collection I'll be rereading any time soon.
Particularly Good Bits:
"He has breeding in him -- a real aristocrat of crime, with a superficial suggestion of afternoon tea and all the cruelty of the grave behind it." ("The Adventure of the Illustrious Client").
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for themes of murder, violence, and suspense.
This is my second book read and reviewed for The Classics Club.