The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle, is a collection of some of the first Sherlock Holmes stories. They were originally published as single short stories in the Strand Magazine, but have now been placed conveniently together in one novel.
The first story in the book, “A Scandal in Bohemia,” has Holmes and Watson trying to solve the King of Bohemia’s case. The king explains that he is engaged to a Scandinavian princess, but at one time of his life was with an Opera singer named Irene Adler, who is now blackmailing him and has evidence of their relationship that could potentially ruin his engagement. He asks Holmes to find and destroy whatever evidence Adler has, and Holmes agrees to attempt to help him with his case. He disguises himself in order to enter Adler’s house, where a party is being held, and with the help of Watson, attempts to find the evidence. Whether he is able to succeed or not, you will have to read to find out.
In another short story, titled “A Case of Identity,” Sherlock Holmes is asked by Mary Sutherland to help her find her fiancée, who disappeared the day they were to be wed. Throughout all the stories, one is able to see how Holmes has a gift for reading into people and piecing things together about them through observation. In this story, he is able to figure out exactly who Mary’s supposed fiancée is solely by knowing that he works in an office on Leadenhall Street. By matching the typewritten letter of the fiancée to one written by someone in her family, he learns that maybe the fiancée is really a family member in disguise.
1. In these stories, Holmes is a master at solving simple problems through observation. He says, “Perhaps I have trained myself to see what others overlook” (32). Do you think that we sometimes overlook simple things in our daily lives? For example, if someone were to ask you what the person who sat across from you at lunch on Friday was wearing, would you be able to remember the details?