Posts Tagged ‘Sherlock Holmes’


I like to try and read a Christmas themed book during the Christmas season, and this collection of classic mysteries by various authors – some well-know, some less so – fitted the bill perfectly for this year.

Like all short story collections, and especially those with various authors, it’s slightly uneven and some stories resonated more with me than others but overall the standard was very high, and I don’t think there were any stories that I really disliked.

The collection contains (my personal favourites are in bold)

The Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan Doyle (a Sherlock Holmes story)

Parlour Tricks by Ralph Plummer

The Happy Solution by Raymund Allen

The Flying Stars by G K Chesterton (a Father Brown story)

Stuffing by Edgar Wallace

The Unknown Murderer by H C Bailey 

The Absconding Treasurer by J Jefferson Farjeon

The Necklace of Pearls by Dorothy L Sayers (a Lord Peter Wimsey story)

The Case is Altered by Margery Allingham

Waxworks by Ethel Lina White (this was my favourite and I could totally see it being adapted into a television film or mini-series)

Cambric Tea by Marjorie Bowen

The Chinese Apple by Joseph Shearing

A Problem in White by Nicholas Blake

Beef for Christmas by Leo Bruce


If you like short stories or like me, you like to read Yuletide themed stories at Christmas (and often being a busy time of year I find that short stories are the perfect type of reading for the Christmas season) I would recommend this book. In fact, if you are a fan of mysteries in general, you can’t go far wrong with this collection.

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Sherlock Holmes needs no introduction – the super-analytical detective is one of fictions best loved and most enduring characters, and the star character of numerous film adaptations.  This book is a collection of twelve short stories, all narrated (as per usual) by Holmes’ friend and able assistant, Dr Watson.

Each story follows a basic pattern – a client comes to see Holmes, and usually Watson, at the Baker Street address, gives details of an unusual event of situation which they have become embroiled in, and which is cloaked in mystery.  Holmes uses his legendary powers of deduction to work out what has happened and then conducts enquiries which usually end up confirming his hypothesis.  He is undoubtedly a clever character, sometimes infuriatingly so!

Short stories can be a bit hit and miss, but there was not a single clunker amongst this collection.  However, I read them in between other books, and for me at least, I think this was the best way of reading it.  Had I read the stories one after the other, I think I may have found them slightly formulaic.  As it was, I found the writing to be original and fresh, with plenty of wit and mystery to keep the reader interested.

Every reader will probably have their own favourites – for me, the best stories were The Red Headed League, The Man With The Twisted Lip and The Noble Bachelor.

Overall, these bite sized treats are perfect if you fancy a bit of a light hearted mystery, and this book comes highly recommended!

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