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The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 2 Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble Classics (September 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593082045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593082048
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.1 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From Kyle Freeman’s Introduction to The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Volume II

 

            When in 1891 Sherlock Holmes tumbled to his apparent death over the falls at Reichenbach in Switzerland, locked in the embrace of the sinister Professor Moriarty, readers all over the world were stunned and saddened. Letters poured in to Arthur Conan Doyle and to his publisher, the Strand Magazine, urging the revival of the beloved detective. Conan Doyle was adamant that he wouldn’t do it. “I couldn’t revive him if I would, at least not for years,” he wrote to a friend, “for I have had such an overdose of him that I feel towards him as I do towards pâté-de-foie-gras, of which I once ate too much, so that the name of it gives me a sickly feeling to this day” (Baring-Gould, The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, vol. 1, p. 16; see “For Further Reading”). Then seven years later, after a young friend told him a legend from Dartmoor about a supernatural hound, Conan Doyle relented by writing The Hound of the Baskervilles. He was careful, however, to make it a reminiscence, not a resurrection, of his famous consulting detective. The story was set in 1889, two years before the Swiss misadventure. The resumption of writing about his most famous creation must have set into motion something in Conan Doyle’s soul, for in an interview quoted in the Harper’s Weekly issue of August 31, 1901, the month The Hound was first serialized, one can see his resolve starting to weaken. “I know that my friend Dr. Watson is a most trustworthy man, and I gave the utmost credit to his story of the dreadful affair in Switzerland. He may have been mistaken, of course. It may not have been Mr. Holmes who fell from the ledge at all, or the whole affair might be the result of hallucination.” It wasn’t long before Conan Doyle decided—perhaps after a wistful look at his bank balance—that the enforced absence of his sleuth had gone on for too long. In 1903 he called on his friend Dr. Watson once more for another series of stories about his colleague, and in October 1903 the Strand published “The Adventure of the Empty House.” There it was revealed, almost plausibly, that only Moriarty had gone over the falls at Reichenbach. Thus readers learned to their delight that they would be treated to many more adventures of the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes.

            A series of twelve more stories followed, ending with “The Adventure of the Second Stain,” the last published in the December 1904 issue of the Strand Magazine. In quick order the series was published as a book by George Newnes of London in 1905, under the title The Return of Sherlock Holmes, with sixteen illustrations by Sidney Paget, the great illustrator whose drawings for the first Strand stories had done so much to establish the popular image of Holmes. The new stories appeared to take up just where the old ones left off. Holmes and Watson resumed their cozy relationship; Holmes continued to solve mysteries that baffled Watson, Scotland Yard, and the reader; and the world of 221B Baker Street seemed as solid and unchanging as ever.

            It seems that way only until one examines the stories more carefully. A closer reading reveals subtle but significant changes in Holmes. The first one we might notice is Holmes’s willingness to take the law into his own hands. In one of the early Sherlock Holmes stories, “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” we recall that Holmes did not divulge the name of John Turner as the man responsible for the death of his neighbor, Mr. McCarthy, when Holmes learned that McCarthy was a blackmailer and that Turner didn’t have long to live. Technically it’s a crime to conceal such evidence, but in view of the circumstances few would quarrel with Holmes’s decision. But before his resurrection, such behavior by Holmes was unique to that story, and we might note that he merely withheld information he had deduced himself—passive misbehavior at worst. In his defense we might also recall that in the case of “The Greek Interpreter” in the second series of stories, Holmes insisted on getting a warrant to search the premises of kidnappers.

            In The Return such niceties are almost scornfully dismissed. Holmes aggressively pursues his own justice, actively breaking the law on several occasions and coming close to morally censurable conduct on several others. We first see this change in “The Adventure of the Priory School,” where we learn that the murder of a German teacher named Heidegger and the kidnapping of the son of the Duke of Holdernesse were part of a plot by the duke’s illegitimate son. It’s clear that the son, acting as the duke’s secretary, and the duke himself were complicit in aiding the killer’s escape. Holmes, claiming he is a poor man, agrees to keep silent about the whole nasty business in exchange for a huge check from his lordship. This is rather shocking. Unlike the previous case in Boscombe Valley, where we feel some sympathy for the wronged man, who will die soon anyway, we have no extenuating circumstances here. In fact, we have a prime example of the high-handedness of aristocracy in covering up its dirty family business at the cost of other people’s lives. Holmes’s acceptance of an enormous check could be seen as a bribe. When we compare this with his acid-toned retort in “The Problem of Thor Bridge,”—“‘My professional charges are upon a fixed scale,’ said Holmes coldly. ‘I do not vary them, save when I remit them altogether’”—it looks as if Holmes has sold out here.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This has to be one of my favorite books/series.
Nathan Brojetos
“The Return of Sherlock Holmes” has thirteen short stories (“The Adventure of ...”).
Acute Observer
The only objection I have is that many of the stories I already read in Volume 1.
Reva Luxenberg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Inverted Infinity on January 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I really like the book from the inside out. Sturdy with an excellent binding, printed using easily readable font, and contains a nice touch of antiquity with the slightly torn pages on the side. Looks exactly like the first volume, though the background color of the pictures on the cover, side, and back is red and not blue.

For this kind of money it is a real bargain and I recommend it for anyone who wishes to venture into the magnificent world of Sherlock Holmes.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kaydern on March 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
I suppose I started reading this collection for the same reason I watch regular TV shows every week. I wanted consistently interesting short stories, and that's exactly what I got. However I made a mistake reading them all straight through in this convenient collection, and the formulaic plots bothered me more than they would have otherwise.

I did notice an improvement in terms of the mystery complexity, which I appreciated. No where is this more evident than in "The Valley of Fear", which uses an extremely similar set-up to "A Study in Scarlet". Both stories have two parts, the first of which takes place in 1890's England and the second some years previous in America. However everything else about "The Valley of Fear" is a vast improvement! The murder mystery is much more clever, the action is better paced, and the second part was well-introduced as well as being a mystery story in it's own right! Clearly Sir. Doyle had come into his own as an author by this point, and his skills greatly improved with practice.

I also enjoyed the change in Watson's "voice" over time. Sir Doyle seems much more comfortable in his writing abilities by "The Valley of Fear", and I felt there was less awkward prose. I noticed Sir Doyle has a very fanciful way of describing the scene, which appeals to me greatly. I shall always imagine a foggy London day as John Watson saw it.

[...]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eric Drebber on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved the first volume and the second one is just as good as the first.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes sherlock holmes or is going to see the movie so they can say "THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN!"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dojo Master on June 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Sherlock Holmes but having to buy all the books is an admittedly daunting and wallet emptying process.Barnes and Nobles cleverly put half of Doyles Holmes stories in this volume.Not only was it cheaper but it was also convenient for people who don't want to carry around 20 books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reva Luxenberg on February 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm still reading Volume 2 and I will be sorry when I finish it. It's most fascinating. The only objection I have is that many of the stories I already read in Volume 1. Otherwise I recommend the book highly if you're a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, like I am.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In The Complete Sherlock Holmes, there are two major sections, along with quite a few shorter, chapter-sized stories about Sherlock Holmes' adventures. In the first section, A Study in Scarlet, Dr. Watson first meets Sherlock Holmes, and they engage in a murder mystery. The murderer is a man avenging the death of his lover and her father. The poor man dies shortly after he is captured. I was sad at the end of this story, because the poor man loses the love of his life, gets sick after she dies and dies right after avenging her death, and when he knew that he'd go to jail for the murders of the murderers. It was still a good story, though.

In The Sign of the Four, a woman comes to Sherlock Holmes, in response to a mysterious letter that she has received from the same mysterious person who has been sending her pearls since not long after her father's friend died. The letter tells her to come to a certain spot, and if she is suspicious, to bring two friends, who are not part of the police. She asks Holmes and Watson to accompany her. What follows is a the discovery of the man who has been sending her the pearls, and a treasure has been found, a treasure that is half hers! Miss Morstan is overwhelmed when she finds out that her missing father has died, as she feared, and the treasure would make her immensely wealthy. Dr. Watson, having come to feel affection for this woman, hides his disappointment, knowing that this will put her out of his grasp. The group go to visit the man's brother, only to find the treasure gone and the brother dead. The tale is full of adventure and excitement, and a touch of romance. I loved it! It ends surprisingly, with the treasure being gone forever, and Dr. Watson declaring his love of Miss Mary Morstan to her, and they get engaged. I love this story.
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By Emily Burnett on March 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's got every Sherlock story and adventure. It's perfect for Sherlock beginners and just plain fans! I was surprised how easy and nice of a read it was.
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By DaRevJdg on March 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is not a great edition -- very small type makes it uncomfortable to read, with or without glasses, would seek another edition or buy as individuaol stories
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