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Title: His Last Bow
Series: Sherlock Holmes #8
Author: Arthur Doyle
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
I went into this thinking this was the final entry in the Sherlock Holmes canon by Doyle. Another fine collection of short stories. But when I clicked the button on my kindle to turn what I thought was the final page, it appears that there is another whole book, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, after this one. I must admit, that stuck in my mind more than any of the stories in this collection did.
There was not a bad story here. I don’t remember thinking, even once, “Man, I wish this story had been cut”. But at the same time, nothing was very memorable either. I hesitate to call this collection mediocre but it is really leaning that way. If it weren’t for Sherlock Holmes being such a foundational character to the whole mystery genre, I think I would have labeled this mediocre.
I have not been tagging any of these Holmes reviews with the “classic” tag because I have not really enjoyed the stories. But the truth of the matter is that these stories have shown they have staying power and still interest people today. So I am adding that tag to this review and am mentally adding it to my previous reviews (mentally only, because I don’t care enough to go and do the actual work. Ain’t nobody got time for ‘dat!).
Thinking about my feelings about Doyle and his whoring out by writing more Sherlock stories even when he was done with the character brought to mind his modern counterpart and opposite, GRR Martin. Doyle tried to kill off his series and end it while Martin has simply refused to finish his series and admitted that the tv show ending is all that fans are going to get. On one hand I castigate Doyle for being a literary whore and on the other I castigate Martin for being a bastard. Authors just can’t win with me. Which is why I like my authors either dead or as names only and not as people.
The reason I write that is because reading a book, or a series of books, involves more than just the words on the page. Our emotions are part of the process, whether good or bad and we have to realize that. Which is why it is important to follow a blogger over a longer period of time (more than a week, for goodness sake!) to see how they judge things. Just because somebody likes Dune by Frank Herbert doesn’t mean my tastes are going to align with theirs most of the time. And just because I rate a favorite book of yours highly doesn’t mean I’m going to review books that you want to see reviewed. The whole intersection between book reviewing and blogging is still on my mind and so these peculiar thoughts pop up at the oddest times and I have to get them out where I can so I don’t forget about them. I realize it can overshadow the book itself (I think I’ve written more about this than the actual book) but I don’t read books in a vacuum and is part of the whole blogging experience. Trying to divorce myself from that aspect of writing is what led me to take off the whole month of October this year.
When I read a book, tangential thoughts pop up like moles. And when I go to write about that tangential thought in the review, it can lead me down paths that have almost nothing to do with the book in question. I do try to be careful and post the road signs so I’m not just jumping from one random thought to another, but sometimes that happens because it happens in my head.
All of that is a roundabout way of saying that just because a particular review might be short doesn’t mean I don’t have a boatload of thoughts on the book. Most of the time I just don’t want to go down the rabbit trails and all the various cliffs they inevitably lead to. Sherlock Holmes might be able to read my mind by knowing my word choice, but I don’t expect any of you who follow me to do such a thing.
And if you think this review was incoherent and chaotic, you’re correct. I had to do a 12hr fast for blood work labs and was wicked hungry when I wrote this. Tough to think straight when all you can have is water