Recently I have become a little bit obsessed with the character of Sherlock Holmes as a result of finally getting round to watching the Guy Ritchie films and the hugely popular BBC television series. I vaguely remember watching some adaptations as a child, which focused more on supernatural stories and I had previously read The Hound of the Baskervilles at some point, but a few weeks ago I found myself searching through Foyles and Waterstones for the full collection of stories and eventually found a 1,400 page tome full of The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes for a bargain £6.99 in Waterstones on Oxford Street!
So far I have read the first two books A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four. As I had very recently caught up on series one of Sherlock I was surprised and impressed to see that the initial A Study in Pink episode was very heavily based on this first story and much of the plot is used. The dialogue between Holmes and Watson on their first meeting is very similar and has been expertly updated.
I am glad that these recent adaptations have made Sherlock Holmes into a ‘cool’ and clever character once more. Previous series have come across as a little boring and I think that Robert Downey Jnr and Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayals of the detective, although both very different, work really well and I can see glimpses of both interpretations in Canon Doyle’s writing (as well as Jude Law and Martin Freeman’s excellent depictions of John Watson). I wouldn’t have necessarily been persuaded to read these stories without these big and small screen representations and I am very happy that they have increased sales in the books to a new audience.
From just reading these couple of books I have realised how funny and intelligent Arthur Canan Doyle’s writing is, how action-packed and dangerous the stories are and what a lovely tribute to London Doyle has written, with the city captured brilliantly on each page. I am looking forward to reading the remainder of the stories alongside watching series two of Sherlock!