Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stomping through Victorian England

When I was in high school, my brother got the complete Sherlock Holmes stories for Christmas one year, all 4 novels and 56 short stories. While I never read them, I often wanted to. After some recent reading, I decided to go for something a bit lighter, and picked up my own copy of the Sherlock Holmes Collection, by Arthur Conan Doyle. It made for good reading over the holidays, and took me about 2.5 months to get through all 1800 pages of the work.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Conan Doyle does a great job of painting the late Victorian era of British life, complete with the famous detective and his sidekick. I was unfamiliar with many of the stories, and while some were a bit too brief, most were engaging and interesting. I often myself trying to solve the mystery given the clues as described by Watson, and even came out right a couple of times. (In all fairness, Holmes often uses knowledge with which the reader is generally unfamiliar with, which makes such armchair sleuthing a bit difficult.) Some of the stories seem quite similar, though I account that to my reading them in a condensed time period, and volume, not in their original serial format.

If anyone ever longs for a good mystery and some fun mental stimulation, I heartily recommend the Sherlock Holmes stories.

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