Review: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Like every other Kindle owner, I downloaded the free version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes from Amazon. While I do have some criticisms of the collection, they’re mitigated by the facts that 1) this is a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories and 2) it’s free.

I was about to claim that I’m not much of a mystery reader, but I’ve been gushing about Raymond Chandler for a while now, so it’s probably pointless to try to defend that position.  I will say that I almost never read a mystery to try to beat the detective to the solution, but to see what the author brings to the story outside the genre trappings.  I’m not trying to stay ahead of Holmes – which would be difficult for no other reason than I don’t know enough minutae from the Victorian Age – but to visit his world.

I do genuinely enjoy Doyle’s stories.  His characterizations of Holmes’s cantankerous and logical character as well as the leads’ mutual affection are effortlessly communicated.  The tales and the company quickly become enjoyable, and Doyle mixes up the genre elements well enough that the stories never become completely formulaic.

That said, this isn’t a great collection either in terms of content – there are many missing stories – or in formatting for the Kindle.  Almost any unusual character is misrendered, to the point where any reference to currency was simply a blob with a number somewhere in the middle that may or may not be related to the sum in question.  While this did not pose an insurmountable problem for the stories, it was annoying.  Not that I remember the Victorian English Currency system, anyway.

Beyond the formatting of the text, the book itself didn’t take advantage of any of the Kindle features for navigation or visualization.  Iorich, which does, was a more pleasant navigation experience.  I like knowing roughly how far it is to the next chapter break, or, in Adventures, story conclusion.  Since it’s clear from the Kindle store that everyone gets this book, I was expecting more of a showcase.

As I say, my gripes should be taken as minor.  This is a free collection of Holmes stories; you can’t go wrong.


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