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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Complete Sherlock Holmes: All 4 Novels and 56 Short Stories
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2002
This collection of stories about the famed detective Sherlock Holmes and his faithful "sidekick" Watson is truly a timeless classic. It is filled with intrigue, mystery, romance, vengeance and ,ultimately, murder. Its beautifully constructed plot and the whole motive of the murder, the clues and the amazing deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes will hardly fail to entertain you and keep you craving for more. Not only will you find crime and punishment on these pages, but also the unique world (the 19th century England) and personalities (cold-blooded Holmes and always left behind Watson) which Doyle has created.
There is one downside to this marvellous classic. When you are done reading the book and there are no more adventures to consume you will feel nostalgic. One could only wish to relax in the comfort of an armchair in front of a fireplace while a rainstorm rages outside and Sherlock Holmes is patiently absorbing the details of another case, on No. 221B Baker Street
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2002
I have only one beef with this edition of the book. NO PICTURES! If your funds are severely limited, then buy this edition only. It's complete and contains all the original stories. You can't go wrong buying this edition.
If you do have extra bucks to spare and you're a newbie to S.H., I'd highly recommend you first buy "The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes" by Castle Books, ISBN: 0-7858-1325-X. It contains all 356 original illustrations by Sidney Paget as they appeared in the Strand Magazine. These illustrations define the enduring image of Holmes and Watson as we have of them today. Even the popular PBS series by Jeremy Brett duplicates scenes from these illustrations. Unfortunately, Paget did not illustrate the first two novels of S.H. and died before he can illustrate the later adventures. But the illustrations will add much greater depth and enjoyment to these stories.
When you're finally done with the illustrated edition and you're still aching for more S.H., then get this complete edition to complete the adventures.
And if you're like me, being a British rebel (an American) and having no real knowledge and experience of what life in Victorian England was about, an entertaining reference book is "The Bedside, Bathtub and Armchair Companion to Sherlock Holmes" by Riley and McAllister, ISBN: 0-8264-1116-9.
This book can be read alongside your reading of each story of S.H. It gives a capsule summary of each adventure and lists some oddities and descrepancies to each story without giving away the ending. Also, it contains chapters which explains the life and times of Holmes' era and explains such things as monetary equivelents, etc. For someone like me who doesn't know a crown from a farthing to a sovereign, it clears up many areas of cultural difference and ignorance. This greatly enhances my enjoyment and understanding of these stories.
The only reason I gave this book 4 stars was because I couldn't give it 4.5 stars. I just couldn't give it 5 stars because of the missing illustrations. A book which advertises that it's the "complete" S.H. should be complete and include the illustrations as they appeared in the Strand Magazine as originally published.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2002
Reading Sherlock Holmes is like consuming a huge box of chocolates. You want to eat them all at once because they are so wonderful, yet you don't want to finish the box because there are no more after that. What a decision! Well...eat the whole box, wait a year and read them all again!
We need more writers like Doyle. We have too many politically correct, bubble book softies who want to please society to make a fortune! This alters a person's writing and reduces it to mush. I like the classics because they are uncompromising, original and no where near politically correct. Sherlock Holmes stories are the best!
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Everybody knows him -- the pipe-smoking detective on Baker Street (with or without the movie-added deerstalker), who is able to deduce all sorts of things just by glancing at a person. "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" shows off Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first collection of short stories involving Holmes, mingling human psychology with sometimes bizarre mysteries.

Holmes is visited by the masked King of Bohemia, who has a slight problem: he's engaged to a princess, but his former lover Irene Adler has a compromising letter that could jeopardize his future marriage. But Adler has a formidable brain of her own. Then Holmes is hired by a man who was hired by the mysterious Red-Headed League, and given a strange job... which is somehow connected to a criminal undertaking.

Among the other strange cases that Holmes and Watson undertake -- a missing fiance, a strange murder in Boscombe Valley, a dead man who was sent five orange seeds, a woman whose husband has utterly vanished, a blue jewel hidden in a Christmas turkey, a dead woman whose last words were "it was the band, the speckled band!", a young engineer given a dream job, an American heiress who vanishes directly after her wedding, a broken beryl coronet, and a young woman given a surreally weird job.

Sherlock Holmes mysteries come in two types:
1. The case is completely baffling, and Holmes is needed to unravel the knot of obscure clues.
2. The case seems straightforward, but Holmes is needed to connect seemingly unrelated clues to the crime in order to find the REAL perpetrator.

There are plenty of both kinds in "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," with a dozen cases that require Holmes' unique detecting skills -- it can be something as simple as locating a letter, or something as complex as foiling a robbery or counterfeiting ring. Doyle's stately, dignified prose is heightened by moments of excitement or horror (" It swelled up louder and louder, a hoarse yell of pain and fear and anger all mingled in the one dreadful shriek"), and he wove in a lot of human psychology into Holmes' cases.

Holmes himself... is Holmes. Doyle didn't like his detective much, but Sherlock's knife-edged intellect and fascination with puzzles are strangely hypnotic -- even if you wouldn't like to be roomies with the guy, it would be amazing just to sit and watch him work. Watson is the perfect counterpoint for Holmes: he's not a genius but is definitely intelligent, warm-hearted and capable.

"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" is a magnificent collection of Holmes' first twelve short cases, filled with murder, intrigue and all sorts of weird crimes. An absolute must-read.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 19, 2010
Who doesn't love a good mystery, especially one by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? His creation Sherlock Holmes is the prototype for countless modern detective writers and continues to entertain us with unparalleled stories sparked by Holmes's brilliance and powers of reasoning. Abetted by his unforgettable sidekick, Dr. Watson, he is called upon to solve not only the most puzzling but the most dastardly cases.

We might say these adventures ably narrated by Ralph Cosham are a synthesis of Doyle's work. There are 12 stories in all from A Scandal in Bohemia to The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. It would be impossible for this listener/reader to pick a favorite but one that stands out in my mind is The Beryl Coronet.

First published in 1892 this story features a banker, Arthur Holder, who makes a sizeable loan to an established citizen. The Beryl Coronet, which is extremely valuable is left as security. Holder determines the Coronet would not be secure in the bank, so he takes it home and puts it in his personal safe. That night he's awakened by strange noises and finds Arthur, his son, with the Coronet in his hand. This scene is witnessed by Holder's niece, Mary, who keels over when she sees the broken Coronet.

Arthur seems most certainly to be guilty of damaging the priceless object yet Holmes remains to be convinced (as he so often is). Several issues muddy the waters - Arthur refuses to say anything; he will not admit guilt or claim innocence. How could he have broken the Coronet when Holmes who is quite strong cannot begin to do so? Fortunately, footprints in the snow outside Holder's house lead Holmes to the real thief.

Narrator Cosham who has been nominated several times for an Audie Award and whose readings have been named "Audio Best of the Year" by Publishers Weekly is the perfect voice for these stories - resonant, clear with timing that adds to the suspense.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke
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on October 2, 2002
THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES is an anthology of every Sherlock Holmes story ever written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This single volume is an absolute treasure; it reveals to us one of the most influential and powerful characters conceived of in the history of literature. Holmes' many adventures manage to transcend the boundaries of the mystery genre and set their permanent mark on the fabric of Western society. The now cliche "Elementary, my dear Watson" reveals how both the sheer genius of Holmes and the unwavering loyalty of Watson have been forever integrated into our collective memory.
If you have ever read Sherlock Holmes in your life and have enjoyed it, please pick up a copy of this book. Reading it again will merely add to your enjoyment. The astounding revelations and brilliant logic of Holmes never lose their novelty.
If you have never read Sherlock Holmes, you have truly missed out on one of the memorable characters in English literature. I urge you to purchase this book immediately. You will not be disappointed.
In summary, THE COMPLETE SHERLOCK HOLMES is a must buy for those who do not already own it. I give it my highest recommendation!
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on February 22, 2002
THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES and THE MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES are here collected into a single volume in this Penguin edition. Two compediums of short stories published after the detective's introduction in the novels A STUDY IN SCARLET and THE SIGN OF FOUR, these are concise bits that are just as good a first exposure to Holmes as the novels.
Because the cases of Sherlock Holmes, dutifully chronicled by his companion Dr. Watson, may not appeal to everyone, I won't focus here on reviewing the stories themselves, as it is the features of this particular edition that are of note.
Iain Pears' introduction is quite enlightening, showing the tendency of Arthur Conan Doyle to make the troubles in Holmes' stories come from England's colonies, which is strange considering Conan Doyle's support of equality and respect for all peoples. Pears' also discusses the change in the style of the Holmes stories, from the rational youth of Conan Doyle to the latter days of his life when he was interested in spiritualism and mysticism.
There are footnotes to each story, compiled by Ed Glinert. An expert on literature set in London, Glinert explains the geographical settings of the Holmes stories, and defines anachronistic terms that are no longer use. He also points out the mistakes Arthur Conan Doyle frequently made in his stories, which are often quite amusing (Watson's wife calling him by the wrong name, contradicting timelines, etc).
Because of the illuminating introduction and the helpful footnotes, I'd recommend over any others this edition of THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES and THE MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES.
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on February 10, 2002
This is the most engaging fiction I have ever read. It's disappointing to finish it all, because I don't know where to find anything better. The stories all have elements of the bizarre and incredible which make them all unique. Holmes is the most three dimensional character in fiction. The writing is ingenious: always easy to follow, but beautifully descriptive.
The four novels are wonderful. For some reason, I don't feel as strongly about The Sign of Four, but the others are among the best writing ever. A Study in Scarlet has a cinematic sweep that spans two continents. The segment in historical Utah is some of my favorite of Doyle's writing ever, showing that he can be brilliant even without featuring Holmes and Watson. The Hound of the Baskervilles is a surreal self-contained nightmare, almost gothic in its gloomy, dark setting on the moor. The Valley of Fear again includes a backstory set in old America, featuring perhaps Doyle's singularly best story ever.
If you are at all like me, you will not be able to put this down and you will treasure this forever.
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on January 3, 2002
Artur Conan Doile's Sherlock Holmes is amazing. I enjoy following Holmes' deductions, made by his incredible mind, based upon the smallest details, not observed by anyone else, leaving Watson behind in his own conclusions.
The whole book is based upon Watson's narrative of Holmes' crime solving career. Holmes and he travel to solve the cases which have been abandoned by government officials. Watson describes Holmes' investigations and observations, giving way to Holmes' powerful mind and being lost himself(in the deductions that is). It is incredible how the smallest details become the most important ones in solving an intricate case.
The cases are told through the "mist" in Watson's mind. He is never able to keep up and follow Holms' deductive train of thoughts. He is usually left behind by Sherlock Holmes and the reader, of course.
Sherlock Holmes can be viewed as a piece of a puzzle to make a perfect human. His calmness and mind trained in some aspects should be an example for many to follow. Disregard Holmes arrogance, coldness, and selfishness,add a few characteristics and you have an almost perfect human.
In overall this book is a must read. It is full of adventure and intrigue. Personally, I enjoy this book because yu can actually try and solve the mystery yourself(with enough details given, that is.) Read this, you won't regret the tme you have spent on it.
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on August 7, 2001
The complete adventures of Sherlock Holmes is an excellent gift for young and old alike. I first read these stories in Junior High School and loved them then. After reading the complete collection a second time, my appreciation of the excellence of these stories has only increased. Like Dickens's great novels such as David Copperfield, a second and even third visit to The Complete Adventures is both warranted and rewarded. Those people who loved the late Jeremy Brett's characterization of Holmes on PBS's "Mystery," are almost certain to find the stories on which this series is based equally entertaining.
From our first encounter with Holmes in Conan Doyle's introductory novel, A Study in Scarlet, and his meeting with Dr. Watson, with whom he shared rooms at the now famous 221B Baker Street, we are fascinated by the uniqueness of Holmes's eccentric character, his incredible intelligence in all things concerning the science of deduction, his total dedication to his craft, and the enormous resources of energy and determination he calls on to solve problems no one else can master.
Holmes is a consulting detective; that is, he is the court of last appeal when the police, government officials, and private citizens can find help no where else. What makes Holmes special is not only his vast knowledge related to crime and the master criminal, like the infamous Professor Moriarty, but his incredible powers of observation and deduction, which he uses in almost every story to amaze Dr. Watson and the various detectives of Scotland Yard who come seeking his help.
Conan Doyle is a fine writer and he wanted to turn his attention to other projects and so decided to kill off Holmes at a last meeting with Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls in the Alps in the highly recommended story, The Adventure of the Final Problem. As we might expect, Holmes is not so easily disposed of. The demand for more adventures prompted Conan Doyle to publish a final volume of stories of the greatest detective in literary history.
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