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