Review: Remember, Remember by Anna Elliott

rememberrememberRemember, Remember by Anna Elliot

My Rating: 3.5/5 TARDISes

Series: Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mysteries

Date Published: April 21st, 2017

Publisher: Wilton Press

Pages: 357 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: A lovely American actress awakens in London on a cold morning in 1897 – lying face down on the concrete pavement outside the British Museum. She has no memories. She does not even know who she is, although she has a vague recollection of the name Sherlock Holmes. What she believes is that she has may have just killed someone, and that someone is definitely trying to kill her. As she searches for clues to her true identity, she will learn that she is not the only target. Unless she can defeat her evil adversaries, the people most dear to her will die.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

I’ll admit I went into this book a little bit hesitant. It’s no secret that I love retellings or novels that use classic characters in modern day literature—these are some of my favorite types of novels. However, the hesitation I experience comes from my love of the original stories and characters themselves. I’m always a stickler when it comes to keeping true to the most essential and definitive aspects, even while the author is forming his or her own unique story. And I am especially picky when it comes to my all-time favorites. This particular novel, I’m pleased to say, does a reasonably good job paying homage to the incredibly well-loved characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s timeless tales of the great Sherlock Holmes.

In this novel, we read from the perspective of the main character, Lucy James, a young woman who wakes up on the steps of the British Museum with amnesia. Once woken up, she realizes she has lost all of her memories, including her name. All she knows is that she was hit in the head and that someone is most likely out to kill her—and that she may in fact be a killer herself. This, along with the vague recollection of the name Sherlock Holmes, is all she has to go on as she attempts to remember who she is, where she’s from, and why she is running for her life. Her enemies are ruthless and willing to take down anyone who gets in their way. Navigating dangerous circumstances and forging new alliances, Lucy takes on her adversaries and works to prevent them from carrying out their nefarious scheme.

Despite my original wariness, I ended up enjoying this story quite a bit. I found the plot to be fast-paced and easy to get wrapped up in right from page one. Though this is actually the third book in the Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mysteries series, it functions extremely well as a standalone. The overall mystery of the story is not completely unpredictable or surprising, but it still made for a very fun and action-packed read.

The portrayal of the various characters, overall, is fairly well done, but also the area from which the majority of my issues with the novel stem. The characters that were original creations of Anna Elliot were by far the strongest. Lucy is a great protagonist—she is a strong, highly intelligent, and independent heroine. The only major issue with her characterization is that there isn’t much development over the course of the story or depiction of flaws. One of the reasons a character such as Sherlock Holmes is so interesting is the mixture of his tremendous intellect and cleverness with flaws that make him human. While Lucy is a likeable character that is still easy to connect with, she seems just a bit too perfect at times.

As for Elliot’s versions of Holmes and Watson, I had somewhat mixed feelings. While her portrayal of Watson, in my opinion, is quite accurate, I felt a little bit lukewarm about her portrayal of Holmes. We don’t really get to see all that much of him, and even though there are certain times that truly reflect the classic great detective, there are some moments and plot points that I felt strayed a little too far. Though it was a little hard for me to imagine at first, I believe she did a decent job of gauging the way Holmes would treat a daughter had he had one in the original stories. However, there were times—such as his offering Lucy dating advice—that just didn’t feel authentic.

I had one odd problem with one of the character’s names. I was reading from an advanced review copy, so this is probably the cause of my confusion, but I could not figure out Lucy’s love interest’s first name. It kept jumping back and forth between John and Jack every few pages, sometimes even within the same page. Again, I assume this was caused by the uncorrected proof, and it has absolutely no bearing on my rating of the novel. However, I’m still not certain what his name actually was meant to be.

Elliot’s writing style is solid and easy to become absorbed in. She gives Lucy a strong narrative voice, which caused the plot to both flow well and pack a punch. Her world building of 1897 London is vivid and skilled, making it a very high point of the novel. She unravels the mystery at a steady pace, showing her talent for creating a storyline that hooks her readers and keeps them wanting more.

In the first part of the novel, Elliot does a great job of presenting Lucy’s slow gathering of clues pertaining to her life. The transition between the two halves of the novel—where Lucy suddenly regains her memories—is a bit rough. We are thrown rather quickly into her rapid and high-stakes lifestyle. However, this still does not hurt the plot progression overall, and though it was a little bumpy, I found myself falling into this new twist fairly easily. In general, Elliot keeps the plot as a whole straightforward enough to follow, and just unpredictable enough to create a exciting mystery.

Overall, I found this novel to be a pretty enjoyable and fast-paced read that was quite easy to become swept up in. This wound up being a very fun story, and an inventive take on some very timeless classics. While I would have liked to see a bit more development in Lucy and the various other significant characters in the novel, they were still portrayed well in general. Despite its few flaws, this is a good addition to the ever-expanding world of Sherlock Holmes novels. I am definitely planning to go back and read the first two novels of this series, and will eagerly await and further installments.

3.5 TARDISes

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Top Ten Tuesday – April 18th, 2017

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is the top ten things that will make you instantly want to read a book. It was a little tough thinking up ten things that turn me on to a book, which is odd considering I will read just about anything I can get my hands on. I guess that goes to show that I will give any book a try, but I somewhat rarely feel that need to instantly pick up a novel. However, there are a few cases where this is true.

Time Travel or Parallel Universes – Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely addicted to books about time travel and/or parallel universes. Honestly, this is one of the only cases where there is practically no hesitation on my part. I will literally read anything I find that involves either time travel, parallel worlds, or (preferably) both!

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Books About Books – I think many book lovers out there can relate to this one! I love reading books in which reading and literature plays a huge part. This can come in the form of the characters being book nerds like myself, the setting being somewhere like a bookstore or library, or a storyline that is shaped around either a real or fictional book within the book.

Recommendations – I’m not one who typically gives into major hype about books—I have been disappointed many times when I get sucked into that. However, if a friend that I trust and share a similar reading taste with highly recommends something, I will pick it up straight away. People like my best friend Lizzie, and my awesome blogger besties Heather and Anna, are to blame for much of my ever increasing TBR pile!

Retellings – I am a complete sucker for retellings. Whether it’s a retelling of a classic novel, folklore, or fairytale, that’s pretty much all I need to know before I pick it up. This can occasionally amount to me reading a really crappy version of a story I love. But many times I have discovered some absolutely wonderfully crafted retellings with their own unique twist.

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Interesting Magic System – I love love love fantasy novels! This is the primary genre that I read, but I do get a bit picky with them, at least in recent years. There are a lot of novels that deal with the same subjects over and over again, and those don’t make for the best reading experience. However, any fantasy novel with a unique-sounding magic system will instantly pique my interest.

Modern Fairytale – As I mentioned, I love fairytales and folklore, and I love present-day novels that give off that fairytale or folklore feeling. I find those types of stories to be absolutely beautiful and captivating. I really hope I can write a story like that one day.

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Highly Praised Classic – I am a huge fan of classic literature—I was always that weird kid in English class that loved almost every book they made us read! So if a classic is highly praised, either by people I know or just in general, I will most likely pick it up. I won’t say I always like them, but I’ll at least give them a try!

Little to No Romance – I’ve talked about this many times before, that, despite being a hopeless romantic, I actually really do not like reading about romance in novels. Sometimes a little bit is nice, bit I find that there are so many instances where it completely overshadows the actual plot. So if a novel boasts little to no romance, that’s definitely a plus for me.

Noir or Gothic – I love noir and gothic everything! Books, movies—you name it, I love it! So of course, these are major turn-ons for me when it comes to finding books. If it has a noir or gothic setting, I’m getting my read on! 😛

Sounds Like Sherlock Holmes – And finally, the most embarrassing book turn-on I have to admit. I typically don’t go for books that are compared to other books I love because ninety percent of the time, I end up feeling disappointed in a book that may have been great if I weren’t holding it to the highest possible standard. However, the one thing that gets me every time is when a novel (or a character in a novel) is compared to Sherlock Holmes…or Doctor Who (hence my love of the Jackaby series!).

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Honorable Mentions

Gillian Flynn, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Ness, Victoria Schwab – …Enough said… 🙂

What are some things that make you instantly want to read a book? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for next Tuesday when I talk about my book turn-offs!

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag – Day 2

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I’m currently traveling, so this is a scheduled post. At this point, I’m uncertain what my ability to access the Internet will be like while I’m gone, so I may not be able to respond to comments right away. I’ll definitely be back with regular access to the blog next week! 🙂

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I was tagged by three lovely book bloggers—T.K. Lawrence @ Read It or Not Reviews, Emma @ The Terror of Knowing and Becca @ Shih Tzu Book Reviews—to do the 3 Days, 3 Quotes tag! If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you’ll already know how much I adore quotes. Thank you guys so much for tagging me! Make sure you all take some time to go check out all of their blogs. 🙂 ❤

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“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then what remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

– Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

I Tag:

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek

Diana @ Voices In My Head

Ara @ The Bookish Agenda

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Top 5 Wednesday – December 30th, 2015

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Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey. Every week, book reviewers all over the world are given a bookish topic and respond with their top 5 books (or elements of books) that relate to that topic. Click here for the Goodreads group if you would like to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday and join in!

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is your top 5 favorite books that you read this year. While I didn’t read nearly as many books as I had hoped that I would, this year was pretty fantastic in terms of quality of books read. It was difficult to narrow this list down to just five, but there were definitely a few novels that particularly stuck out this year. These have not only become some of my top favorite novels of all time, but all of these authors were new to me and are now on my favorite authors list as well!

5. Jackaby by William Ritter

jackabyThis was pitched as “Doctor Who meets Sherlock”, so of course I had to read this immediately—and thankfully, it did not disappoint!

Click here to check out my full review!

4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinderThis was my first read of 2015 and an absolutely brilliant way to start off my reading for the year.

Click here to check out my full review!

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

gonegirlThis was my first Gillian Flynn book, and by far one of the most intriguing and captivating novels that I read all year.

Click here to check out my full review!

2. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

thememoirsofsherlockholmesThis is my first time making my way through this series and I am kicking myself for having put these novels off for so long—they are fantastic!

Click here to check out my full review!

1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

viciousThis was my most recent read and my last completed book of the year—and it was definitely my favorite of them all!

Review coming soon!

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Review: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

thememoirsofsherlockholmesThe Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes

Series: The Sherlock Holmes Series

Date Published: July 24th, 2012 (first published in 1894)

Publisher: BBC Books

Pages: 340 pages

Source: Purchased

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is the second collection of short stories Arthur Conan Doyle wrote chronicling the various cases that Sherlock Holmes works on accompanied by Dr. John Watson, the narrator of the tales. Originally, there were twelve stories that were each individually published in The Strand Magazine prior to being released together as a whole novel in 1894. However, for unclear reasons, only eleven of these stories were put into the first London edition and subsequent U.S. editions of this collection. The omitted story was later published in the fourth collection of short stories, His Last Bow.

Arthur Conan Doyle creates literary magic once again, continuing the adventures of his great detective. I was equally as absorbed by these new mysteries as I was by those in the previous novel. I found myself falling in love all over again with these iconic characters and Doyle’s extraordinary storytelling style. There were more surprising twists and turns, and each case kept me on my toes in the way I so enjoy.

This is the collection that contains some of the most iconic stories and characters of the Sherlock Holmes series, including Holmes’s brother, Mycroft. We also finally see him face off against his arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty, arguably one of the most famous characters from the novels.

Not only do we get new cases, but we are also given a glimpse into Holmes’s past. We see how he got his start, how he became the master of deduction. We are also treated to what I felt was a more thorough depiction of Holmes’s more human side; no matter how astounding he is, Doyle never lets us lose sight of that aspect of his character.

Doyle goes more in-depth in his intriguing juxtaposing of Holmes and Watson, further demonstrating Holmes’s remarkable abilities while allowing the highly intelligent doctor to hold his own. I felt there was even more of an equal display of their individual talents throughout these stories than in the first collection. Watson is given many an opportunity to show off his invaluable medical skills during a number of cases.

I loved every story in this novel, though I did feel like my opinions of each of them were a bit more varied than my opinions of the stories in the collection preceding this. There were a few stories that did not resonate with me quite as much as others. Despite this, the stories were overall enjoyable and enthralling, and I devoured them as enthusiastically as ever. This was a spectacular read and a welcome new addition to my list of all-time favorite novels.

I’ll very briefly go more in-depth with a summary of each of the individual stories in the collection. Note: These are spoiler-free descriptions.

My favorite stories from this collection were Silver Blaze, The Adventure of the Yellow Face, The Final Problem, The Adventure of the Resident Patient, and The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter.

  1. Silver Blaze

In this story, Holmes is called in to investigate the disappearance of a famously talented racehorse right before an important race, as well as the coinciding murder of the horse’s trainer. I was completely absorbed in this horse’s tale, and loved the many bewildering events in and layers of the storyline; like many of the tales, it was not at all a straightforward plot. In my opinion, there was also a particularly good depiction of both Holmes’s and Watson’s individual talents. Silver Blaze was by far my favorite story in this particular collection.

  1. The Adventure of the Yellow Face

In this case, a man hires Holmes to discover, by any means necessary, why his wife keeps secretly and frequently visiting a nearby cottage. I enjoyed this because I found the themes that it dealt with to be uncharacteristic of the stories thus far and, delightfully, dealt with in a very open-minded way that was surprising for the time period this was published in. This was another one of my favorites; it was quite a unique story and had a very touching ending. It is also one of the few cases that Holmes does not solve correctly, and contains one of my favorite quotes: “Watson, if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little overconfident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper ‘Norbury’ in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you.”

  1. The Adventure of the Stockbroker’s Clerk

In The Adventure of the Stockbroker’s Clerk, a young man by the name of Hall Pycroft comes to Holmes about a suspiciously well-paying job that he has just been offered. He had recently gotten a good job as a clerk with a company in London, after having lost his previous job at another stockbroker’s, when a man named Arthur Pinner approached him about yet another job. This job was a position at a hardware company and had nothing to do with stockbroking; it was a much better offer so he had quickly taken it. However, things soon started to feel off about this new position when Pinner asked that Pycroft not resign from the other job.

  1. The Adventure of the Gloria Scott

This story breaks from the traditional format, as Holmes takes over as narrator and relates this tale of his past to Watson. Holmes tells Watson about one of the first cases he ever worked on: helping out a friend from university, Victor Trevor, whose father received a seemingly insignificant letter that induced a stroke. I was very torn in my feelings about this story. I felt as though this was one of the weaker ones, and the actual mystery itself fell a bit flat for me. However, this story also shows Holmes in his early years, when he was only just becoming the incredible detective we all know him to be. It is one of the first looks we get into his past, and we are shown a new and fascinating side of him in his interactions with his schoolmate.

  1. The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual

This is another story where Holmes takes over as narrator and recounts one of his earliest cases to Watson. After going into business as a consulting detective, he receives a visit from Reginald Musgrave, a university acquaintance. Musgrave has come to him after two members of his staff, the maid and the butler, have gone missing. He had recently fired the butler after catching him reading a centuries old family document, the Musgrave Ritual. Musgrave gave the butler a week to leave, but he disappeared after a few days, leaving behind all of his belongings. The maid was found to be hysterical over the disappearance, and she herself suddenly went missing only nights later.

  1. The Adventure of the Reigate Squire

In this story, Holmes has just finished up with a rather stressful case and Watson, worried for his health, takes him to a friend’s estate for a rest. However, when they arrive, Holmes finds out that his detective skills are needed there. A burglary has recently occurred at the Acton estate nearby, where the thieves only took a very random assortment of items that were not very valuable. Then, a few mornings after they arrive, Holmes and Watson are informed of a second burglary at the Cunninghams’, yet another nearby estate; however, this time, the coachman at the estate has been murdered. The only physical clue found in the murder case is a small piece of paper in the man’s hand with a few mysterious words written on it. This was one of my favorite cases that Holmes worked on in this collection, and also contains what I thought was one of the most hilarious scenes that I have read in these stories so far.

  1. The Adventure of the Crooked Man

In this case, Holmes visits Watson’s practice and asks if he would like to join him in the final stage of his investigation. Holmes has been investigating the apparent murder of Colonel James Barclay. His wife Nancy is the prime suspect, though acquaintances said that they appeared to have a happy marriage. However, on the night of his death, the servants heard the couple have a terrible argument, during which Nancy called her husband by a different name. Everything suddenly went quiet and the servants were unable to gain access to the locked room. When they finally did, James Barclay lay dead and his wife remained passed out nearby, having supposedly used the Colonel’s club to commit the crime. Of course, there is much more to this case than meets the eye, as Holmes soon finds out.

  1. The Adventure of the Resident Patient

In The Adventure of the Resident Patient, Holmes is approached by Dr. Percy Trevelyan, who has found himself in a rather unusual working situation. Though he had done well in medical school, Trevelyan did not come from a wealthy background and therefore had been unable to begin a practice for himself; however, he had eventually been contacted by a benefactor by the name of Blessington, who gave him the money he needed in order to build this practice. The two men had worked out a deal where Blessington would receive three-quarters of the practice’s daily profits and, suffering from various illnesses himself, would become Trevelyan’s resident patient. Things worked out well until a week before Trevelyan comes to Holmes, when Blessington had become increasingly nervous about the security at the practice. Then two men had come to be treated by Trevelyan, and it later appeared that one of them had searched through Blessington’s room. This mystery was absolutely fascinating and was another one of my personal favorite cases in this collection.

  1. The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter

This is the first story that introduces us to Holmes’s brother, Mycroft. He not only has the same deductive and observational powers as Holmes himself but also, as Holmes states, Mycroft surpasses him in these areas. Mycroft presents him with the case of a Greek interpreter named Mr. Melas. Melas was visited one night by a man who needed his translation abilities for a business matter. This man took Melas to the location of the transaction in a coach with blacked out windows to prevent him from knowing where they were headed. The man also produced a weapon that he held by his side and told Melas that if he let anyone know of the events of this evening, he would be dealt with. When they arrive at their destination, he was brought into a house to speak with a man who, having a taped over mouth, was forced to write down his responses. A young woman who appeared to know this man interrupted their meeting and, as the two were being separated, Melas was rushed back out of the house and into the carriage. This was a very unique and intriguing case, and this story ended up being another one of my favorites from the collection.

  1. The Adventure of the Naval Treaty

In this story, Watson brings Holmes a case that an old classmate of his, Percy Phelps, has just written him about. Phelps has been suffering from a “brain fever” for a number of weeks following an incident at his workplace involving a document of international importance. He was given the task of copying this top-secret naval treaty, a task which caused him to have to stay quite late at the office one evening in order to finish. Phelps had rung for coffee from the commissioner at the office, but when it did not turn up, he went looking for him. At the same time as he found the commissioner asleep at his desk, Phelps heard the bell that indicated that someone was ringing from his office. He rushed back upstairs to find that the room was empty and the naval treaty was missing.

  1. The Final Problem

This is the first story to introduce another iconic character: Holmes’s arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty. It is also the first story to make me cry. A criminal mastermind with an intellect on par with his own, Moriarty was Holmes’s greatest adversary. The pair matches wits as Holmes attempts to bring him and his organization to justice, but neither can best the other. This causes a stalemate, which ends in the famed fight at the Reichenbach Falls. The Final Problem was definitely one of my favorites from this collection. It is one of the most well known Sherlock Holmes stories so, going in, I was prepared for the concluding events. However, I must admit, those final couple of pages still made me tear up.

5.0 TARDISes

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Top 10 Tuesday – September 15th, 2015

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It’s Tuesday once again, and that means it’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

This week was a freebie, so we were able to select our own topics for our lists. I wanted to do something related to my favorite novels; however, I didn’t want to simply make a list of them. It took me a while to come up with a topic, but I finally decided on listing my top 10 favorite Sherlock Holmes stories that I have read so far.

I attempted to read one of the Sherlock Holmes novels when I was far too young, and I ended up not liking it. So for a long time, I put off reading any of the others. I even stayed away from any movies and television shows based on the stories, as I was certain that I would not like them. Boy was I wrong!

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(This may or may not also be how I react when people say they don’t like Sherlock Holmes…)

Last year, after completely falling in love with the BBC television series, I decided to give them another try, starting with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. And thus, the obsession began. I’ve only read two of the novels so far, but they have become two of my all-time favorite books. These stories are so captivating and such a joy to read; I’ve been flying through them. I went from thinking I didn’t like these novels to, every time I am about to pick one up, reacting somewhat like this:

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Now, without further ado, here is the list of my top 10 favorite Sherlock Holmes stories (in no particular order)!

  1. Silver Blaze (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)

In this story, Holmes is called in to investigate the disappearance of a famously talented racehorse right before an important race, as well as the coinciding murder of the horse’s trainer. I was completely absorbed in this horse’s tale, and loved the many bewildering events and layers in the storyline; like many of the tales, it was not at all a straightforward plot. In my opinion, there is also a particularly good depiction of both Holmes’s and Watson’s individual talents.

  1. The Red Headed League (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

This is the story of a man who comes to Holmes for advice after he receives a peculiar, high paying job, solely due to the fact that his hair is the perfect shade of red. There are a number of stories throughout these collections that center around people being hired under perplexing or suspicious circumstances; for some reason, they always tend to be my favorites. The outrageous situations are so intriguing, and I love trying to guess why the employers have created these jobs.

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  1. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

Here, Holmes is approached by an acquaintance after the man finds the Countess of Morcar’s priceless blue carbuncle in the throat of his Christmas goose. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle is one of my top favorites because of the wittiness of the storyline and dialogue.

  1. The Man with the Twisted Lip (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

In The Man with the Twisted Lip, the wife of a missing businessman comes to Holmes after she thinks she has seen her husband looking out the window of a nearby opium den. This was a very engaging story with lots of twists (no pun intended!) and turns. Not only did I love the resolution to this mystery, but it was also one of the few that I was able to solve myself!

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  1. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

In The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, a woman asks for Holmes’s help after taking a job as a governess that comes with some unusual requirements regarding her appearance and daily routine. I found this case to be extremely complex and well plotted, and I had no idea where the story was headed; I was completely puzzled up until the very end.

  1. The Adventure of the Yellow Face (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)

In this case, a man hires Holmes to discover, by any means necessary, why his wife keeps secretly and frequently visiting a nearby cottage. I enjoyed this because I found the themes that it dealt with to be uncharacteristic of the stories thus far and, delightfully, dealt with in a very open-minded way that was surprising for the time period this was published in. It was quite a unique story and had a very touching ending. It is also one of the few cases that Holmes does not solve correctly, and contains one of my favorite quotes: “Watson, if it should ever strike you that I am getting a little overconfident in my powers, or giving less pains to a case than it deserves, kindly whisper ‘Norbury’ in my ear, and I shall be infinitely obliged to you.”

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  1. A Scandal in Bohemia (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

Holmes is hired to stop the woman who is blackmailing the King of Bohemia, and thus save his upcoming marriage from being called off. This is the story that introduces the iconic character, Irene Adler, a woman who very nearly matches Holmes on intelligence and quick-wittedness. Watching them face off was utterly fascinating.

  1. A Case of Identity (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

This story has another theme that is common among these accounts: the disappearance of a significant other. Here, a woman’s husband makes her promise to remain faithful to him no matter what, then disappears later that morning, which just so happens to be their wedding day. I loved this one because not only was I puzzled all the way through, but the revelation at the ending was absolutely shocking.

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  1. The Adventure of the Speckled Band (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

Arguably the most well known of the Sherlock Holmes short stories, The Adventure of the Speckled Band tells the story of a woman who enlists Holmes to solve the mystery of her sister’s sudden death in the night. She believes her stepfather to be the murderer, and that she herself will be the next victim. Not only is this a bizarre and enthralling adventure, this was the first of the short stories that I read, and I credit it with making me decide to give these stories another try.

  1. The Final Problem (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)

This is the first story to introduce another iconic character: Holmes’s arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty. It is also the first story to make me cry. A criminal mastermind with an intellect on par with his own, Moriarty was Holmes’s greatest adversary. The pair matches wits as Holmes attempts to bring him and his organization to justice, but neither can best the other. This causes a stalemate, which ends in the famed fight at the Reichenbach Falls. The Final Problem is one of the most well known Sherlock Holmes stories, so I was prepared going in. I don’t cry easily at books and movies; however, I must admit, those final couple of pages hit me right in the feels.

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Well, those are my top 10 favorites so far. I can’t wait to continue on with the rest of the stories! Let me know in the comments if you are a Sherlock Holmes fan and, if so, what your favorite story, movie, or television episode is.

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Check out my full reviews of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes!

-Ariana

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Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

theadventuresofsherlockholmesThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes

Series: The Sherlock Holmes Series

Date Published: May 1st, 2012 (first published October 14th, 1892)

Publisher: BBC Books

Pages: 324 pages

Source: Purchased

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the first collection of short stories Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about his famous detective. Each work chronicles the various cases that Sherlock Holmes works on, accompanied by John Watson, who narrates the tales. Originally, the twelve stories featured in this collection were individually published in The Strand Magazine between 1891 and 1892; they were then released together as a whole novel in late 1892.

I had read one or two individual stories in school over the years, but this was my first real experience with Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle’s work; and I completely fell in love with everything about them. I love a good mystery that makes me really think, and that is exactly what I got over and over again throughout this collection. I found each story to be incredibly absorbing, and they kept me guessing right up until the very end. Each one is full of twists and turns that constantly surprise, but wrap up perfectly in the final pages.

Doyle’s writing style was so captivating, making this a very enjoyable read for me. He is a master at pulling the reader completely into the story, fully into the characters’ lives, and making you care for each and every one of them. In Holmes, he has created a character that does extraordinary, seemingly impossible things in a completely believable way. Despite his extreme intelligence and astonishing powers of observation and deduction, Sherlock Holmes is still realistic. Relatable. Genuinely human.

Watson is a perfect narrator and companion for the great detective. He also works as a great foil for Holmes. This may be a bit surprising because Watson is an exceedingly intelligent man in his own right, so he doesn’t function as a complete contrast to Holmes. Instead, he highlights Holmes’s abilities with his own intelligence by being unable to fully understand his process of deduction. However, Watson as a character still holds his own, and proves to be invaluable at many points during the cases. Overall, they are a wonderful pairing.

So, in short, I absolutely adored this book. Reading these stories gave me that warm, cozy feeling of curling up by the fire with a cup of hot tea while it’s snowing outside. I can’t wait to continue on with the other books in the series, and dive back into this world and these amazing adventures.

Now, I’ll very briefly go more in-depth with a summary of each of the individual stories in the collection. Note: These are spoiler-free descriptions.

My favorite stories from this collection were The Red Headed League, A Case of Identity, The Man with the Twisted Lip, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, The Adventure of the Speckled Band, and The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.

  1. A Scandal in Bohemia

This is one of the most famous stories in the collection, starring Irene Adler or, to Holmes, “the woman”. In this story, Holmes is hired by the King of Bohemia to retrieve blackmail, in the form of a photograph, from opera singer Irene Adler, with whom he had been romantically involved with a few years earlier. Now that he is engaged to a woman of noble birth, Adler has been threatening to send this photograph to the family of his fiancée, which would cause them to call of the wedding. It was fascinating to watch Holmes match wits with Adler, who is almost as intelligent and as cunning as him.

  1. The Red Headed League

A redheaded man named Jabez Wilson comes to Holmes with questions about a job he was urged by a friend to take that offered a high salary, but was solely for redheaded men. Wilson was the only one chosen for the job, simply because his hair was the right shade of red. In this story, Holmes is able to connect and solve two cases that appear to be completely unrelated. This was one of my top favorites of the collection.

  1. A Case of Identity

In A Case of Identity, a woman named Mary Sutherland comes to Holmes when her fiancée mysteriously disappears on the morning of their wedding. That very same morning, he had made her promise to remain faithful to him no matter what happened. Holmes soon discovers that this man is not exactly whom he has made himself out to be. This was another one of my favorites!

  1. The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Inspector Lestrade enlists Holmes to solve the murder of a man named Charles McCarthy, whose son has been linked to the crime. The evidence points very strongly toward the son, but his fiancée, and Holmes himself, maintain a belief in the man’s innocence. The twists and turns that this story took were incredible; they hooked me immediately, and kept me thinking until the very end.

  1. The Five Orange Pips

A man named John Openshaw presents Holmes with a case about multiple strange deaths in his family. Openshaw’s uncle received a letter from India containing five orange pips, then passed away no more than two months later. A few years after this, his father also received a letter with the five pips and died three days later. Openshaw himself has just received this very same letter, and is certain he will meet the same fate.

  1. The Man with the Twisted Lip

A man named Neville St. Clair has disappeared, but his wife tells Holmes that she is certain that she saw him looking out of the upstairs window of an opium den. St. Clair is a respected businessman, and not only is it unlikely he would be in there, when she went into the house, the only person inside was an old beggar. I loved the way that this mystery played out, and it was one of the few that I was actually able to deduce the answer to myself!

  1. The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

A former thief is arrested when the Countess of Morcar’s priceless blue carbuncle is found missing. However, a man with whom Holmes is acquainted discovers this blue carbuncle in the throat of his Christmas goose. This was a definite favorite of mine because, as well as being an intriguing mystery, I found it to be incredibly funny and witty at times!

  1. The Adventure of the Speckled Band

This is arguably Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous short story about Sherlock Holmes, and his own personal favorite. A woman named Helen Stoner approaches Holmes with fears that her stepfather is trying to kill her after he makes her move into the bedroom in which her sister died two years prior. Apparently, her sister passed away just before her wedding saying, “it was the Speckled Band”. This is the only one that I had read prior to reading the full collection, and it remains one of my favorites.

  1. The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb

Watson attends to a man named Victor Hatherly, whose thumb has just been cut off. While in his office, he relates the story to Holmes and Watson of how he was very secretly hired to repair a machine that compressed “Fuller’s Earth” into bricks. Hatherley was not allowed to know the location of the machine, and was taken to it in a carriage with frosted glass windows to prevent him from learning the route. When he discovered something that implied that the machine is not being used for what he was told it would be, his employer attacked him.

  1. The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

This case involved the disappearance of Hatty Doran following her wedding to Lord Robert St. Simon. She attended the wedding and they were married, but she disappears from the reception, and her wedding band is found floating in a nearby lake. Holmes also discovers that the servants had kept a former lover of hers from forcing his way into the house earlier that morning, and that she had been seen having a secret discussion with her maid shortly before she went missing. There were elements of this story that I guessed as I was reading, but the ending was very surprising, and even more complex than I thought it would be.

  1. The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

A banker named Alexander Holder presents Holmes with a case after a client he loans money to leaves a beryl coronet, an extremely valuable public possession, with him as security. Holder heard a noise and woke in the night to find his son holding the coronet, which had been damaged, and now has three beryls missing from it.

  1. The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

A woman named Violet Hunter comes to Holmes after she is offered a job as a governess that has some very unusual requirements attached to it, some of which have to do with altering her appearance in a specific way. Holmes urges her to take this oddly high paying job, and to call him in to investigate as she discovers more about the position, and the family. This was another one of my favorites: a very complex and interesting case.

I most definitely recommend this novel to anyone and everyone, especially if you enjoy classics and a good old-fashioned mystery!

5.0 TARDISes

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