Sherlock Holmes was the character who would not die Sir Arthur Conan Doyle feared being stuck with Holmes and killed him off in “The Final Problem” published in 1893. Eight years later, he published another Holmes novel albeit one set before Holmes death. But in 1903, he relented and returned Holmes to life with the short story, “The Empty House.” The story was followed by twelve others which were collected in The Return of Sherlock Holmes.
Coming upon this collection, I was somewhat surprised. Many literary critics speak of later Holmes stories as weaker than the first. I actually found this collection to be, if anything stronger than the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Stories such as “The Empty House,” “The Norwood Builder,” “The Dancing Men,” and “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons” are pure classics. From the first story to the last, Holmes is at his best as the master of deduction.
The flaws in this collection are minor. The ending to the “The Missing Three-Quarter” didn’t quite live up to the build up and “The Golden Pince-Nez” was a tad melodramatic. However, this doesn’t really subtract from the beauty of this selection. In the last story, “The Adventure of the Second Stain,” Doyle trials to end the Holmes story by having Holmes forbid Watson from publishing further adventures. However, after this book, there was no way that would last.
Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0
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