Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume II

Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume II - Loren D. Estleman,  Arthur Conan Doyle

Almost three years ago exactly I set out to read every Sherlock Holmes story and novel, considering the length of the average story and the briefness of the novels I should have finished this long since, but, as my reviews attest, at times I could barely stand the bastard.

Despite starting strong with 'The Hound', Doyle's follow up novel. and the majority of the stories published after Holmes' return from the grave. fail to live up to expectations. There's a lot of merit of course, and if I had outright hated the things I never would have finished, but urgh. Whine and moan. The last collections of stories found Doyle on good terms with his creation, or had figured out what his audience wanted. Good reading, but I'd advise spacing it out as much as possible.

10/8/14 - 'The Hound of the Baskervilles': Five Stars

Elegant and suspenseful, I doubt Doyle ever surpassed this - I hope to be proven wrong in time.

12/4/14 - 'The Return of Sherlock Holmes': Two Stars

Back to the grindstone Doyle? There are enough stories of merit to make this collection readable, but artistically a disappointment.

1/6/15 - 'The Valley of Fear': Two Stars

The reader can't help but be drawn into the narrative about a corrupt Masonic Lodge in American coal country, but this mystery - a lengthy explanation for Holmes' benefit - has little to offer.

2/17/16 - 'His Last Bow & The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes': Four Stars

The strongest collection of stories since 'Memoirs', the last two Holmes books make up for the lack of pace with twenty-one stories that mostly deliver everything a reader could want from a Victorian mystery.

See also: 'Complete Novels and Short Stories, Vol I'