The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes is the 'youngest' Sherlock Holmes story collection.
Published in 1927, it's been just 88 years since it was published.
Well, that's young compared to the first collection - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - published 123 years ago!
Or compared to The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes - published 121 years ago...
How are the stories from The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes compared to other Holmes stories?
Well, to be honest they are a bit inferior to the 'gems' of The Adventures and The Memoirs. Don't get me wrong - they're all great - but the extra zing is lacking.
However, there are a few stories here too - that made me sit up and shake my head in disbelief - so you can't just write off this book.
Problem of Thor Bridge - the second story of this collection - is one
of my all time best Holmes stories. It's an engrossing example of how
outstanding Holmes' deductions can be...
So basically, the book is worth a read. We'll delve into each story soon and take a tiny bite (without spoilers) - BUT - let's first take a peek at some interesting facts about The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.
Take a peek at the vital stats of The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.
How many words does The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes have? In which year was it first published? What's one funny quote from the book? Here we go:
I've laughed a couple of times after reading that 'convenience quote' :-)
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes has the last Sherlock Holmes story ever published.
I am a Sherlock Holmes fan and the phrase 'last Sherlock Holmes story' does stir up some emotion in me...
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes has that last Sherlock Holmes story: The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place.
The story was first published in The Liberty Magazine in March and then in The Strand Magazine in April, 1927.
Here's a picture of the cover page of The Strand Magazine featuring the last Holmes story:
Since then, there've been plenty of Holmes stories written by Holmes fans - but well, the original stories are unmatched.
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes has very different stories from all the other books.
Conan Doyle experimented quite a bit with the stories in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes. He's done stuff he hasn't done anywhere else. For example:
Time to get started. Let's blow those trumpets and delve right into the stories!
The Mazarin Stone is a very distinct Sherlock Holmes story. There's no mystery to begin with. It is not narrated by Watson. But the story is captivating in its own way.
It's about how Sherlock Holmes extracts the Mazarin stone from the villains who have stolen it. Holmes doesn't use force. He uses his brain to manipulate the thieves into delivering the stone in his hands.
This story doesn't have the traditional Holmes story plot, but it definitely showcases Holmes' idiosyncrasies in full.
The Count: "I believe you are the devil himself."
Sherlock Holmes: "Not far from him, at any rate."
Neil Gibson's wife is dead. And everything found nearby proves that the governess of the house - Grace Dunbar, has shot her.
It's almost like an open and shut case. There's too much evidence to show Grace did it...
But - that's what worries Holmes.
Isn't there too much evidence? Everything points so clearly towards Grace that Holmes has a doubt: What if the evidence has been arranged to accuse Grace?
For example, why would the gun used for murder be kept in Grace's wardrobe? Why would the murdered woman hold a note from Grace in her fist at the time of murder?
Also, is there a love triangle here?
This is just the kind of mystery that draws you in and makes you say, "Holy cow!"
It's my favourite story from The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes. I love it. Period.
"With the help of the god of justice I will give you a case which will make England ring."
Mr Trevor Bennett has come to Sherlock Holmes because his father-in-law has a problem.
This father-in-law - a professor - crawls through corridors in the night! He climbs up walls and peeks into windows. And he's become very, very unlike himself in the past few weeks.
To top it all his own dog is attacking him these days - apparently without a reason.
And yet - he's delivering as brilliant lectures as ever at the University.
Why would a man crawl and climb walls? Has something supernatural happened? Holmes needs to find out!
When I read this story for the first time, the sheer bizarreness of the mystery definitely shook me up.
"Come at once if convenient - if inconvenient come all the same."
In the 'weirdest Sherlock Holmes story name' contest, this story would win hands down. Is there a vampire in here?
Robert Ferguson has seen his wife sucking blood from their son's neck.
That's a monstrous proposition - but - he's caught her in the act.
Can Sherlock Holmes help figure out what the heck is happening? The wife herself is refusing to say a word in defense of her act.
She had also brutally beaten her 15 year old stepson earlier. Why? No one knows. She refuses to tell.
I was gripped by the storyline when I first read it. It's fascinating to see how Sherlock Holmes figures the answers to these questions:
"This agency stands flat-footed upon the ground, and there it must remain. The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply."
Holmes' job in this story is bizarre: he has to find a man in the whole world whose last name is Garrideb.
Apparently, an American millionaire has willed his estate to three people with the last name - 'Garrideb'. Two Garridebs have been found. Holmes needs to find the third one.
Now while the case is bizarre, the question is - is Holmes being told the truth? After all, why on earth would even a crazy millionaire will away his estate in such a strange way?
Is there a subtler plot that's hidden under this 'Garrideb hunt'?
Holmes' superb powers of observation and deduction are amply required to figure out what's true and what's hogwash.
"By the Lord, it is as well for you (that Watson is safe). If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive."
'The Illustrious Client' is the story of how Holmes tries to convince a beautiful, accomplished woman to not marry a murderer.
Everyone knows that Baron Adelbert Gruner is a murderer and a guy who abuses women. Everyone, except for the woman who's in love with him: Violet de Merville.
No matter what anyone tells her, she just refuses to believe that her guy's a villain!
What Holmes needs to do is this: he needs to prove to her beyond a doubt
that the guy she's dating is a jerk. Because he freaking is one.
Quite a different case, this one - and it's got a cool little climax scene at the end. The climax gave me the jitters...
"Some people's affability is more deadly than the violence of coarser souls."
Someone's asking Mrs. Marberley to sell her house.
This someone is ready to pay any price she wants BUT - each item in the house must be sold along with the house.
That's quirky. Or rather - sinister...
Is there something hidden in Mrs. Marberley's house that she herself doesn't know about?
Why else would someone desperately want to buy the
house and everything inside it?
Also, Mrs. Marberley's son died recently in Rome. Are the death of her son and someone wanting her house - two related events? And what about her son's love scandal - is it true?
It's up to Holmes to connect many seemingly independent facts and make sense of them.
"...there are always some lunatics about. It would be a dull world without them."
James Dodd and Godfrey Emsworth were great friends who fought together in the Boer War.
The problem is: the war is now over and Godfrey has just...disappeared. Godfrey's family has told James that Godfrey's gone on a world tour.
But James thinks there's something fishy. Why else would Godfrey's dad be irritated with him for asking about Godfrey?
And then - there's that face that James saw at his bedroom window.
It was Godfrey's face!
Sherlock Holmes needs to figure out Godfrey Emsworth's fate. Is he alive and well or is he the victim of a sinister plot?
"...when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
All's well in Sussex where Holmes is enjoying his retirement when...the science teacher in a nearby school staggers up to him and dies.
The last words of the teacher are: 'the lion's mane'.
This science teacher had just gone out for a swim in a natural pool. How could he just die like that? And why did he talk about a lion?
Who killed this science teacher? Was it his rival in love - Ian Murdoch - the Maths teacher? Ian Murdoch has also started acting stubbornly and angrily of late...
There are many mysteries Holmes needs to solve here: The dying man's last words, the motive for the crime, the role of Miss Bellamy - whom the dying man loved, and how the dying man was killed.
Interesting fact: Dr. Watson does not appear at all in this story!
"In all my chronicles the reader will find no case which brought me so completely to the limit of my powers."
Josiah Amberley is Sherlock Holmes' client. His problem is: his wife has eloped with a neighbour - along with a good deal of cash and securities! Can Holmes track these guys down?
There appears to be hardly any mystery here... After all - Holmes just needs to hunt the duo down.
But Holmes' keen sense of observation tells him that something else is also amiss. Stuff has been hidden from him.
For example: why is Josiah Amberley painting his house - such a short while after the disappearance of his wife? People just don't do that after their wife elopes.
Holmes pieces many such tiny details together to find a horrifying truth...
The twist at the end absolutely blew me away. I was like: "Hats off to you Holmes for paying attention to the minutest details and turning the case on its head."
"You'll get results...by always putting yourself in the other fellow's place, and thinking what you would do yourself."
A circus owner had died. His wife had been disfigured. A lion had been found next to these people - probably the culprit.
This tragedy had occurred long ago in the village of Abbas Parva.
Our story begins however, when the disfigured woman - asks her landlady to send for Sherlock Holmes. She wants to tell the truth about what happened that day in Abbas Parva. The truth that no one knows...
'The veiled lodger' - the person mentioned in the title - is this disfigured woman. And the whole story is her rendering of what happened on the day of the tragedy - many years ago.
Did the lion kill her husband and disfigure her? If so, why was the circus owner's body found far from the cage while the woman's body was near it? And why did the woman scream "coward" on the night of the tragedy?
This story is different from many other Holmes stories because it is not about how Holmes solves a mystery.
It is simply about a woman telling Holmes the mind blowing truth about what happened years ago, near a lion's cage...
"Your life is not your own. Keep your hands off it."
Strange things are happening at Shoscombe Old Place.
For starters, the owner of the place - Sir Robert has been seen talking to a stranger in the middle of the night - near a church. His sister has suddenly stopped meeting him and is on a drinking spree! His sister's spaniel - has been given away to someone.
If all this isn't startling enough - well Sir Robert has also been found to be doing something sinister: removing a centuries old corpse from its coffin and hiding it under mud...
And - human bones - have been found in the central furnace at Shoscombe Old Place.
With this kind of evidence, it is obvious that something wicked is definitely going on at Shoscombe Old Place.
Can Holmes' powers of observation and deduction solve this mystery?
"Dogs don't make mistakes."
There, we're done with the stories from The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.
Time to tell you about which ones I liked the most in this collection. Let the curtains be raised! ;-)
What, you haven't yet read The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes? Read it, right here:
Note: If you live in the USA, you shouldn't download the above files because The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes is copyright protected in the USA.
Visit this page on Amazon if you live in the USA. Happy reading!