I've reviewed the Sherlock Holmes story sets and novellas individually, but the whole is worth reviewing. In fact, Sherlock Holmes is probably my favourite lengthy book series (as compared to, say, James Bond
or The Hardy Boys
). At first glance, Holmes doesn't seem like the most believable detective, but the way he solves exceedingly strange (Arthur Conan Doyle would no doubt have called them "singular") mysteries is a real joy to read.
The great thing about Holmes is that he's not perfect. Rather than suffering us to read his own haphazard thoughts, Doyle has cleverly written the character from Watson's perspective, allowing us to see the dashes of mad genius as logically interpreted by the good doctor. This narrative technique is a great success; Holmes' offbeat humour would quickly become tiring otherwise.
More evidence that Sherlock Holmes is not a perfect character: he's outwitted more than a few times (although by whom I won't divulge, for it might spoil the fun!) and even his brother Mycroft is even more observant than he is. It quickly beomces apparent that Holmes is a well-rounded individual in a well-rounded (if not a bit darkly comic) London, though he may seem like a mere violin-scratching eccentric who does too many drugs for his own good.
Along with Agatha Christie and Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Conan Doyle has created one of the classic heroes of the mystery genre. You won't regret reading his adventures, and The Complete Sherlock Holmes
is one of the best ways to get all the stories.