The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
© 1894 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Has it been five years since I read a Holmes collection? I remember picking up Memoirs shortly after reading The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, not nothing that Memoirs was published well before that, but I fell into distraction at some point. More’s the pity, because here collected are eleven classic stories that include both the beginning and the (first) end of Holmes’ career, “The Gloria Scott” and “The Final Problem”. It contains a few iconic scenes; Holmes stalking about in his cape and seeming to read Watson’s mind, as well as some of his best lines:
“Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
“That was the curious incident.”
Some Trek author inserted those lines into a novel years ago and it absolutely mystified me. Well, glad to have cleared that up. (On that Trek note, I must say that The Next Generation deceived me in regards to Professor Moriarty. He’s charming onscreen, but decidedly uncharismatic here. Granted ,his only appearance is to threaten Holmes with death if he doesn’t keep plotting the ‘Napoleon of Crime’s” Waterloo.) Memoirs has the same engaging writing as the previous collections, and adds some interesting aspects to Holmes’ character, namely his eccentric home decor (storing cigars in Persian slippers, using the wall as target practice).
A few of the mysteries:
- “Silver Blaze”: A prize horse has gone missing. (Okay, granted, it’s not as ambitious as the missing train from Further Adventures, but it’s still very mysterious.)
- “The Musgrave Ritual”: A brilliant butler vanishes after being caught studying nonsensical couplets used in an initiation ritual. Could it be that he divined some meaning into the lines?
- “The Gloria Scott”: What secret does a cranky sailor have over this nervous country squire?
- “The Greek Interpeter”: A man is driven into the middle of nowhere and used to question a Greek man being held against his will — why?
- “The Cardboard Box”: Who ordered two human ears packed in salt?
I think I’ve gone through all the short stories my library has access to, so when next I visit Baker Street, it will be for a full novel!