Friday, July 2, 2010

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Tor Classics)I think I have come to the conclusion that mystery novels are my genre of choice, but I do prefer a full-length novel to short stories. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but 20 pages on average just isn't enough to develop a good mystery. Any tension or suspense is resolved relatively quickly, and I found myself reaching the end of many of the stories thinking, "Is that all?" I will have to read some of the longer Sherlock Holmes novels to see if I find that format to be more satisfying. Regardless, I think I will always be partial to Lord Peter Wimsey, in short or long story form. Dorothy Sayers' amateur British detective marked my return to mystery reading as an adult, and he just can't be topped when it comes to intelligence, wit, and charm, not to mention that Bunter, the epitome of an English butler, completely eclipses Watson as the sleuth's sidekick.

But I digress - this post was supposed to be about Sherlock Holmes, not Lord Peter. Sherlock Holmes' deductive skills are certainly amazing, if at times a bit far-fetched in that it's certainly not the only conclusion that could be drawn from the evidence -he just happens to land upon the right conclusion every time. How convenient! Nevertheless, I enjoy observing his reasoning skills and attempting to figure out the puzzle, although in most cases it seemed as if the reader is merely intended to be awed by Sherlock Holmes' outstanding powers of observation and reasoning instead of solving the crime along with him. In fact, many of these stories are mysteries only in the sense of unusual events or family problems or injustices, not actual crimes. In some cases I found the plots a little redundant, but that is a minor complaint.

At any rate, I plan to read more of Sherlock Holmes (in chronological order of publication if possible), although Lord Peter will always have first place on my bookshelf!

How about you - who is your favorite detective or mystery series? My 6-year-old is enamored with The Boxcar Children, which I am hard-pressed to even classify as mysteries. But it's a good place to start, as Nancy Drew certainly fueled my love for reading!

Edited to add that I'm linking this to the Classics Bookclub at 5 Minutes for Books.