Number of pages: 331
The third compilation of Sherlock Holmes short stories I have read this year; the only problem here was that of the twelve stories, only one, "The Aventure of the Second Stain" was new to me. However, this does contain some very enjoyable stories, starting with probably my favourite Sherlock Holmes mystery, "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" (even when I know what the Speckled Band is, I find this an enjoyable read).
Curiously, the fourth story in this collection is "The Adventure of the Final Problem", followed inevitably by "The Adventure of the Empty House".
For those not familiar with the Sherlock Holmes canon, spoilers ahead:
[Spoiler (click to open)]
"The Adventure of the Final Problem" was famously written because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wanted to kill off his most famous creation. The story introduces his ultimate foe, Professor Moriarty, and is introduced by Doctor Watson as being about the death of Sherlock Holmes. Sure enough, by the end, it appears that Sherlock has fallen to his doom, fighting with Moriarty at the top of the Reichenbach Falls. However, the public outcry was so great that Doyle finally resurrected Sherlock with "The Adventure of the Empty House", and it was lucky that his apparent death was left very open-ended, so much that it almost looks like Doyle wanted to give himself the option of bringing back the master detective.
It seemed a bit odd having his apparent death taking place in the middle of this book and not as the final story that was featured, but I guess that was the publisher's decision.
Overall, I enjoyed this, and luckily, I'd forgotten a lot of about many of the stories, so I was able to enjoy them all over again.
Next book: The Machine Stops (E.M. Forster)