First edition, above, I’m rereading this and all the Holmes stories on my phone when I have the odd moment. I first read some of them in my teens, and then I discovered The Annotated Sherlock Holmes in our local library, and devoured all the stories and novels over a summer, I think, probably in the late 1960s. It’s been long enough that I don’t remember any details about many of the stories, even though I watched the Jeremy Brett TV adaptations and loved them. Having them as a free download on my phone and iPad through iBooks has been a delightful bonus from Apple.
These stories pick up Holmes and Watson’s crime-solving career some years after he was apparently killed in the story, “The Final Problem.” That was Doyle’s attempt to kill off the characters he’d grown tired of writing about so he could concentrate on other books and characters. His audience badgered him for more, though. A few years after the death of Holmes, Doyle wrote the most famous Holmes novel, “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” though setting in before Holmes’ death, which rather than assuaging his audience made them even more vocal in asking for more. At last Doyle gave in, and in the first story here, “The Adventure of the Empty House,” Watson is astonished to find a living Holmes once more on his doorstep inviting him to participate in a new case. I’m not going to plot outline the stories in this book, you can find that HERE, but I certainly enjoyed these tales every bit as much as the earlier ones. True, there is some repetition of types of cases, but Doyle always makes them interesting, and in each story manages to add a few fascinating details about Holmes that we didn’t know before.
If you haven’t read the Sherlock Holmes stories, I envy you the experience. And with the short stories you can really start almost anywhere and have a great time. Recommended.