Have you watched the film Sherlock Holmes? Here’s a better question. Have you read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s book and tried to imagine Sherlock Holmes without imagining Robert Downey Jr.? If not, then good heavens I’m not alone!
I have recently (if November is considered recent) borrowed my friend’s first volume of the complete novels and stories of Sherlock Holmes and I have to admit-it’s a classic for a reason. Not only because it’s been written ages ago that’s why it’s considered classic but because it has been written excellently.
If you plan to read the book, here are some key points to remember:
1) Sherlock Holmes is not who you think he is. Everyone knows that Mr. Holmes is the most unusual detective who uses the science of deduction in forming his conclusions but not everyone knows how peculiar he can get. He is a man who considers the brain of a man to be an empty attic, and one has to stock it with such furniture as he pleases. A fool, according to Sherlock Holmes, would take in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might prove useful to him get crowded out or jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. On the other hand, the skillful workman is very careful into what he takes into his brain-attic. It is a common mistake as well to think that this little room is elastic. That is why Mr. Holmes, in contrast to what others believe, has his limitations too to the point that he doesn’t know or even care to know the Solar System. He plays violin pretty well and knows a good lot about sensational literature. On the type of cases he handles, he goes for small than big ones because he believes that there lie greater mysteries in those cases. He is the laziest arse you could ever meet but the most energetic when he finds a case of his utmost interest.
2) There is a sidekick. If Batman has Robin, Sherlock Holmes has Dr. John Watson. The book uses the third person in the character of Dr. Watson who narrates the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. He begins with how he met Sherlock Holmes, how he met his wife (thanks to Sherlock Holmes in The Sign Of Four) and how they shared many adventures together-solving cases and unraveling the truth. Although he finds Sherlock Holmes very trying and bizarre at times he was able to make a good acquaintance out of him. All throughout the book, Dr. Watson was there trying to break a case with his friend Holmes, jotting down these little escapades (which Sherlock Holmes criticizes) and always willing to lend a hand to his dear friend.
3) Bring a dictionary. I don’t know with you but I needed to look on the dictionary once in a while because of some highfaluting and curious words that Sir Doyle used. Although I know the words, I still had to look for their meanings. The author made use of words in such a creative manner where the reader can either be flabbergasted or demented. This is not meant to scare you but to encourage you. The more you read such classics, the more words add to your vocabulary. The more words you add to your vocabulary, the more you get better in the four macro-skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening).
4) It will blow your mind. Every single story is well-plotted. The stories, as promised by Sherlock Holmes, are not your usual ones. The book covers a great deal of literary genre-suspense, comedy and even romance (though Sherlock Holmes is not really a romanticist). For that reason, you wouldn’t find the book dull and lifeless. The more you dig deeper on the cases, the more you want hooked to them. As a reader, you would like to solve the case on your own trying to make out something out of the clues given out before Sherlock Holmes reveals the solution behind the problem. Yet what’s more interesting is that it doesn’t only point out the “greatness” of Holmes but his weaknesses as well and how he loses in some of the cases. This just shows that even The Great Sherlock Holmes has his Waterloo. I’d say the book is not merely for reading’s sake but it will also put your thinking and reasoning skills to the test. As you read, you would ask questions like, “How in the world did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made that story?” or “Why is Sherlock Holmes awesome?”.
5) You will hunger for more. After reading the first volume, you would feel how the public demanded Doyle to ingeniously bring back to life Sherlock Holmes after killing him in “His Last Bow”. As soon as you finish Volume 1 you would be so eager to read Volume 2 as if the first volume was not enough. The book gives you a lot of nail-biting scenes where you just can’t drop the book and stop reading.
The book speaks for itself. It’s a classic beyond a shadow of a doubt and it should be read by everyone. After all, The Great Sherlock Holmes who lives down yonder Baker Street could be of assistance to your hard-pressed spirits.