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Cover of The Complete Sherlock Holmes: Volume II.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes: Volume II

author: Arthur Conan Doyle (1914)
date read: 2003-09-01
pages: 752
lists: mystery
rating: β˜… β˜… β˜… β˜… β˜†

Reading Sherlock Holmes was a milestone in growing up. I remember starting the first story when I was barely eight. It started β€œTo Sherlock Holmes, she is always THE woman.” I stopped reading and ran to my mother to complain that she hadn’t handed me the first part: obviously there had to be another part beforehand! She explained to me that books for adults often worked in a less linear fashion, and that I should stick with it. Which I did.

I read all the Sherlock Holmes stories during a particularly uneventful summer. I remember how the books smelled and behaved when I got sand between the pages. I remember the sun and the sea and the constant lure of the books. I remember my family poking fun at the fact that they never saw me and had to drag me outside (a lie! I could read outside) and into the water (true).

My second stop that summer was visiting my father, who had moved to a new home. I got to stay in a tiny room that I had just to myself, and I loved everything about it. During the first night, I continued reading, and came to the tale of the Speckled Band – which takes place in tiny rooms where people get bitten by venomous snakes. I panicked, and had to be calmed down by the adults.

Every other mystery had to measure up to Sherlock Holmes for years after that, until I found Dorothy Sayers.

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