Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Book Review: The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes

It's no coincidence that our two little ratbags are named Sherlock and Mycroft. Mr. Click has been a bit of a Sherlock Holmes fan since I met him, and since I met him he's picked up and read all of the original Sherlock Holmes books (as well pretty much every other book featuring the Consulting Detective that he's come across since then).
Of course, this means that, invariably, I end up reading them as well. As soon as he finishes with them, the are added to my To-Read pile so I can let him know what I think of them. The most recent of these was <i>The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes</i> by Guy Adams and Lee Thompson, which I read on 19th of November.

Picture from Amazon because my camera has stopped working and is currently off to Canon for repair.
I actually picked it up in London when I was there and happened to go to Baker Street in an attempt to buy a pin badge for Mr. Click. I love books in this style where there's lots to look at and pull out. When I was younger I used to imagine that they were real and that I was investigating something important.
It had plenty of interesting pages to slip out of little pouches within the book; everything from a photograph of Irene Adler to letters and notes on the Hound of the Baskervilles case. It was really well done with different handwriting styles, types of paper and even some of the papers which were designed to be thinned so you could see where the ink had soaked through to the other side - little things like that make for nice touches.

It covered six of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, including one of my favourites: The Red-Headed League. One of the largest sections of the book was the one about The Hound of the Baskervilles, which I'll admit, wasn't one of my favourite bits, although there was plenty to pull out of the book there. One thing that would have improved it a little more would have been if it had touched on things that weren't included in the Arthur Conan Doyle originals - I realise that would have probably prompted complains from the purists, but I like the little sneaky behind-the-scenes glimpses and I think a book like this would be the ideal place for them.

All in all, it was a nice quick little read for me and I think it would be great for introducing younger readers to Sherlock Holmes; the six stories featured give a basic outline of the story with evidence from police documents and newspapers. It's only 63 pages long, but they're packed pages and some of the letters are a bit tricky to read because the handwriting styles are very old-fashioned (I did find myself skimming a couple of them because it was easier than trying to decipher every word).

I jotted down a couple of quotes from it, but they weren't really particularly note-worthy. My favourite was definitely the one from the newspaper article on the final page:
"Consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes is believed to have died last night, plunging into the waters of the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland." [page 63]
Overall I give it 3.5 stars because it was a nice quick read, was fun and wasn't too heavy-going. It was a good book for a quiet Saturday, but it was mostly a novelty book and I wouldn't say it added anything to the original Conan Doyle stories.

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Let me know what you think. :-)