Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - The Wrap Up

Okay, so I was right. It really was too soon for me to be reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes again.

As I mentioned in the video, the last time I read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's collection of stories about the world's most famous detective was less than six months ago. I had a funny feeling that reading it again so soon would result in a significant loss of mystery from the tales, with my previous knowledge being fresh enough that I could second guess the answers sooner than I otherwise might have. In the case of almost every story, I had the answer almost as readily as Holmes himself, and I must confess, that killed the enjoyment for me a little bit. So much of the joy is in trying (and inevitably failing) to match wits with the Brain from 221B Baker Street.

Don't get me wrong - I still love Doyle's flair for the written word, with description that makes Victorian London both entrancingly beautiful and incredibly sinister all at once. I picked up clues I had missed on my first reading. Overall, it was not a bad reading experience.

But the loss of the mystery, the decline in the thrill of the chase, really impacted on my feelings about the book this time around. Rather than rollicking along with my own theories, hoping I was right, being intensely puzzled by the way Holmes was drawing his conclusions, I was feeling cocky, recalling the basic gist of each case's resolution, even if my memory hadn't stored all the finer details. It became frustrating, leaving me wishing I was already onto the next story, in the hope that it might be one I didn't remember. It really was all too fresh.

And that's really what I've taken away from this reading - Sherlock Holmes IS brilliant, but he's that much more brilliant after an particularly extended break.

After all, being around somebody that amazingly brainy all the time is horribly tiring.