I was very excited to find a copy of Sherlock Holmes Investigates by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which had been illustrated by Sidney Paget. The stories are wonderful and the reproductions of the original illustrations added another layer of happiness to my reading.
The collection began with an excerpt from A Study in Scarlet which tells the story of how Dr Watson met Sherlock Holmes. At the time Dr Watson had only recently returned to England after being wounded in the Afghan War and needed to find somewhere to live when a mutual friend introduced the pair to each other as potential flat mates.
The next story, The Man With the Twisted Lip was new to me. Dr Watson had a patient who was addicted to opium and at the request of the man’s wife, retrieved him from a notorious opium den only to be accosted by an old man, who turned out to be Sherlock Holmes in disguise. The detective was on trail of a rich man who had gone missing, presumably into the Thames River by way of the opium den. All the clues are in the story for the reader to figure out what happened, but I needed Sherlock Holmes to explain it all to me (as did Dr Watson).
The Speckled Band is the story of a murder caused by greed. I’m happy to say that while I didn’t figure out exactly how the murdered committed the crime, I cam close to guessing correctly!
I thoroughly enjoyed The Red-Headed League which featured criminals and a victim with flame-red hair. In this case, the victim actually enjoyed a financial gain as a result of a crime against him and a bank.
The Engineer’s Thumb told of a poor young engineer who took on a job to repair a mysterious piece of machinery. The engineer did not expect to have his thumb amputated in a gruesome incident during his employment.
The Reigate Squires started out with Sherlock Holmes recovering from illness and exhaustion that had been brought on during another case and ended with him almost being murdered. Luckily, Dr Watson was nearby to save Holmes and to tell the story.
The last story was The Blue Carbuncle, a horrible but apt name for a diamond so valuable that had been the cause of murders, robberies, a suicide and numerous other crimes. When the diamond was stolen Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were in the right place at the right time to find and return the diamond to its rightful owner.
I enjoy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing style. Dr Watson is a descriptive and interesting narrator who describes what he sees and then later, what Sherlock Holmes saw in the same scenario. Dr Watson inserts some of his personality into the stories but Sherlock Holmes is always the star. I was amused by Dr Watson’s ability to leave his patients to their own devices while he did more interesting things with Sherlock Holmes and can’t imagine a doctor in this day and age having the same freedom.
I’m already looking forward to my next adventures with Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes.