The answer, it would seem, would turn out to be, almost nothing.
|Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes|
What struck me most when reading the Dover Thrift Edition reprint of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (2010 for Dover; 1894 for the original) was that I did not care much for Conan Doyle's style of writing. Endless quoting within quotes and descriptions that seem to go on for days dominate most of the tales. Seldom is the information presented to the reader to give any idea of how Holmes will solve the puzzle at hand. While this collection of short stories is a pretty poor choice of where to jump back into the exploits Conan Doyle's legendary detective – A Study in Scarlet (1887) or The Sign of Four (1890) would have been much better choices – I was still disappointed that there was so little development of the principle characters: Holmes and Watson. Instead, Conan Doyle offers brief descriptions of the men and their activities, deciding instead to spend endless paragraphs to vague depictions of late 19th Century London and its surrounding villages and neighborhoods.
|Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls|
For the price – $3.50 – the book is fine. It is a little odd to have physician Conan Doyle make repeated references to brain fever (a malady that can have one bedridden for weeks at a time) which is anything from being in shock to encephalitis or meningitis, and never having either Holmes or Watson clarify the matter. But I have seen much worse at much higher prices, and even when I was frustrated with Conan Doyle's style I still found some enjoyment in the stories.
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (DTE) includes the following tales:
▸ “Silver Blaze”
▸ “The Yellow Face”
▸ “The Stock-broker’s Clerk”
▸ “The ‘Gloria Scot’”
▸ “The Musgrave Ritual”
▸ “The Reigate Puzzle”
▸ “The Crooked Man”
▸ “The Resident Patient”
▸ “The Greek Interpreter”
▸ “The Naval Treaty”
▸ “The Final Problem”