Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Return of Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle

One of my new reading discoveries for the year was the short story, and how it can be much less frustrating to read a collection of them rather than having to constantly stop reading at a crucial point in the book.  And so with life being busy (and me still not wanting to decide which book to read) I embarked on the next Sherlock Holmes collection.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes begins, as you would expect, with the return of Sherlock Holmes.  His apparent death is handily explained and then forgotten about so that we can return to normal.  Let that be a lesson to all authors - never kill your most popular character just because you want to write about something else for a while.  In fact, the return to the 'golden days' was clearly required to such an extent that all changes in Watson's life are wiped out so that he can return to live with Holmes.

With much of the first story being dedicated to setting the 'new' scene there are really only 12 'proper' short stories in the collection.  As would be expected, these vary greatly in subject matter and crime type.  There are brutal cases, kidnappings, burglaries, and the odd instance of no crime being committed at all.  More of the stories in this series feature Holmes working against the police rather than for them, which adds an interesting extra level to each plot.

As I read the stories over a fair length of time it is difficult to say if any stood out as better than the rest.  I do remember that in The Adventure of the Six Napoleans I worked out where the plot was going.  This means it must have been fairly see-through, given my lack of concentration lately!  Still, the series as a whole was an enjoyable read.

My target for 2013 was to read 30 books.  I think it's fairly safe to say that 13 is well short of the mark.  Some major changes happened this year and reading is one of several parts of my life that got ignored.  Still, I got some new books for Christmas and remain hopeful that this will set me off on the right path for 2014.  Happy new year!