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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures for the Ages (12-1)

After bad, decent, good, and great, we come to the twelve absolute best cases!

12. "The Man with the Twisted Lip" 9/10 (Short Story from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)
A man disappears into thin air and Sherlock must find him while a man rots in prison for the abduction. Holmes once again makes a wrong conclusion that he must reassess on new evidence. It also deals with the issues of the London poor. The solution to this case is one of my particular favorites.

11. "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" 9/10 (Short Story from His Last Bow)
Mycroft and the British government employ Sherlock to find the plans to a submarine. The deduction in this case is well explained and interesting to follow. Plus, a great deal of it relies on actual forensics and police work rather than deductive leaps. The best story from the 'His Last Bow' collection.

10. "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" 9/10 (Short Story from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)
This is another much lauded and very strange case. A man is given money for simply being red-headed and copying the dictionary. This is probably the finest example of something small revealing something huge.

9. "The Adventure of the Priory School" 9/10 (Short Story from The Return of Sherlock Holmes)
Holmes must help retrieve a lord's son who has disappeared. This involves almost all of Holmes' classic tricks. The slog through a moor isn't quite as good as one coming up, but is pretty awesome itself.

8. "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder" 9.5/10 (Short Story from The Return of Sherlock Holmes)
A classic tale of vengeance. Sherlock must clear a man of murder despite the evidence stacked against him.
7. "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" 9.5/10 (Short Story from The Return of Sherlock Holmes)
Sherlock must turn to crime to thwart a malicious blackmailer. My favorite of all Sherlock's foes! Moriarty is a plot device, the Tiger of San Pedro is too malicious, and Gruner is too obvious; however, Milverton matches Holmes' cunning and forces him to work just outside the law.

6. "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" 9.5/10 (Short Story from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)
My favorite adventure from Memoirs. Another gothic tale that requires Holmesian deduction to finish. It starts with a strange disappearance and suicide and ends with discovered treasure.
5. "The Adventure of the Dancing Men" 9.5/10 (Short Story from The Return of Sherlock Holmes)
This is the best tragic Holmes tale and my favorite from the Memoirs collection. Holmes must break a code to uncover a woman's past before it is too late. The quintessential code-breaking tale.

4. "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" 10/10 (Short Story from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)
Miss Helen Stoner's sister has been murdered and now she fears she may be next. A tale of jealously, greed, and hatred. It is also one of the most elaborate murder plots that Holmes unravels. It features exotic animals, a midnight wait, and engagement!

3. "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" 10/10 (Short Story from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)
On Christmas a man finds a goose that lays a large jewel of an egg. It is the subject of a headline theft and Holmes has to discover the thief. The famous Watson-Holmes betting ruse comes from this story.

2. "A Scandal in Bohemia" 10/10 (Short Story from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)
The best of the short stories contains the only canonical appearance of Irene Adler aka 'the woman.' She has been built by time to be Sherlock's love interest and the quality of this story attests to why. However, she is at her best in the original version without any romantic attachment to the famed detective. The fire trick and Sherlock's getting into good graces in disguise are some of the most memorable of the great detective's gambles.

1. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" 10/10 (Novel)
This is often cited as the best of the Holmes novels, if not the best of all the stories. It definitely lives up to those expectations. A complex plot that evokes intrigue and suspense. The only clear suspect is a supernatural demonic hound. It all wraps up with a logical explanation at the end. My only complaints were that it gets a bit dry in some of the middle chapters and the last chapter might explain things too thoroughly, but they are minor complaints and are necessary to the plot. Doyle provides everything with a haunted majesty that makes it easy to be swept up in. This is Sherlock Holmes at his finest.

Next Time: The Oscars!

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