The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

8th November 2011

*I won this book in a giveaway from @contextuallife.

It has been quite some time since I read any of Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. I do, though, try to stay connected. I read and disliked The Sherlockian earlier this year, and I try to watch the Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law version every couple months. I also stumbled across the BBC version of Sherlock and loved it. I love mysteries and always have, and Holmes’s acute observation skills are incredibly interesting to me.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of short tales that Watson pulls from his old files in order to give a more complete recollection of Holmes’s abilities, up to and including his last case involving Professor Moriarty, called “The Final Problem.”

Though these are very short stories, several of them are fantastic, including “The Naval Treaty” and “The Adventure of the Yellow Face” -both really fantastic short mysteries, one involving a case of brain fever and a stolen treaty and the latter tackling race in a quiet but sweet way. It was a really endearing story with a fantastic ending.

I can see where long-time Sherlock fans would be disappointed in the brevity of these tales; however, I liked getting a glimpse of some lesser-known and easily-solved cases. Holmes needed the money and was bored and destructive without a case, so it makes sense he would take some simple ones.

My only complaint is “The Final Problem” because it felt unfinished. Watson is reluctant to tell the tale and tells the reader he only gives in because Moriarty’s relation has told an altogether untrue version of Holmes’s demise. However, Holmes’s battle with Moriarty occurs in the years after Watson is happily married and when, Watson tells us, he only assists Holmes with about three cases per year. Therefore, he isn’t clued in to what is going on, and unfortunately, Holmes doesn’t have the time within the telling to divulge just what has happened, other than that Moriarty is a match to his wits and skill and that he is a dangerous criminal mastermind. I kept thinking I’d get more because Holmes tells Watson he’s done some of the finest work ever and seems intensely proud of himself…but nada. In fact, I’m not enough of a Sherlockian or Holmesian to know if Doyle ever told this story in more detail. Inquiring minds want to know.

All in all, this was a very fun read and one that adds and doesn’t detract from Holmes’ lore. It has also made me even more eager for December 2011 and this…

  • –> *I won this book in a giveaway from @contextuallife. !!!
    Aren’t you a lucky picky girl ! I Love Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Thanks for the great review. Every couple of years I’ll just grab a Holmes book from my library and give it a read just to revisit old friends. Your review just reminded me that it’s about time to do a re-read. Thanks, Cheers… BB

    • I AM a very lucky picky girl. So glad I could remind you of an old favorite.


  • I read this many years ago and remember liking it. I’m really excited about the new, estate-approved novel, THE HOUSE OF SILK, that just came out. Will be spending time with Holmes and Watson this weekend!

    • Ok, you had me tearing around wanting to buy House of Silk yesterday but so pricey. My library has a copy, but it’s checked out for two weeks. Luckily, I remember my Audible credit just renewed. Can’t wait to start listening tomorrow!

  • i havent read this one before.. great review. I will add this to my TBR list. And am looking forward to Dec 2011 following you now..

    • Thanks so much! It was a really fun one, especially if you haven’t had much intro to Sherlock. I cannot WAIT for the movie.

  • Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness

    I can’t wait for the next Sherlock Holmes move too! The first one was so much fun.

    • You know, it really was. I had no real complaints with it. The music, camera work, casting…everything was fantastic. Hope this second one lives up to it!

  • I got lucky and snagged this from the library. Have you started listening to it yet? Maybe we can compare notes when we’re done?

    • Sounds great! I’ve been sick but plan to pick back up on it tomorrow.