A Book Review: Sherlock Holmes

Detective’s Work Comes to Life in Short Stories


Christina Cherniske, Staff Writer

Book being reviewed: Sherlock Holmes: Classic Stories (Barnes and Noble edition)

By: Arthur Conan Doyle

Genre: Mystery

Pages (Paperback): 368


A few months ago I received this thick rubbery book for my birthday. Being a lover of the classics, I readily dove into the wonderful world of mystery Doyle had laid out for me. I have not entirely finished yet (I am very close!), but, because it is a collection of short stories and I know they were all exquisitely written, I believe I can review them. 

The stories center around the famous detective Sherlock Holmes operating  in London, England. With his extraordinary talents he solves a baffling range of mysteries and explains his reasoning with such simplicity it is rather hard to not be amazed at both Holmes and Doyle. His trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson, is the narrator giving detailed insights to the renowned detective’s habits making the stories even more enjoyable. 

What I like about the book is how it is clean, intriguing, witty, unpredictable and all together an unforgettable experience. I like how Sherlock (or Doyle really) takes the time to lay out step by step how the case was solved, and that there was plenty to puzzle through before he does that. You do have to try and decode Holmes’s refined English, but quickly the pieces click into place and it’s a smooth read.

Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 22, 1859. For seven years he attended the Jesuit boarding school in England where he rebelled against brutal punishment regularly. There he discovered he had a talent for storytelling and was often found with a group of students enraptured around him. Doyle did a variety of things throughout his life, he went back to school and became a successful doctor, wrote many novels, narratives and plays, toured more than 30 cities making speeches, took care of his sick wife Louise, and served in the Boer War as a doctor. His levels of success were different for each profession but he definitely made a lasting impact on literature and society.

Most everyone I know has heard the delightfully curious name of Sherlock Holmes, but not everyone has read the written mysteries to grow more intimate with the psychological schemes that go on inside Sherlock’s racing mind. He is a mystery himself,  but this book is a great introduction to mystery and the classics. 

Nowadays with the influx of digital and audio books, the increase in fantasy and fiction, the classics seem to be covered in more and more dust. Everyone’s taste is different of course, yet I believe everyone should at least pick up one thick Charles Dickens book, reach into a Jules Vern adventure, laugh with Jane Austen and dance with the Little Women of Louisa May Alcott. The classics are rich and are made up of so many ideas, fantastic writings, well told tales and lessons that if you really read them they shine like jewels on library shelves. They are all different ranging from Comedy’s to Historical Fiction, Thrillers to Romances. There is an author for everyone. 

The next time you spy a weather-worn book, pick it up. Be like Sherlock Holmes and grab every detail the author writes;  you might like it.