Two problems for the price of one client for Sherlock Holmes. Mary Morstan’s father disappeared ten years ago and, four years later, she began receiving a pearl in the post once a year, from an anonymous source – until this year, when there is a letter asking for a meeting as Mary is a “wronged woman”. And then it gets complicated – far too complicated to summarise here. But when the brother of the pearl-sender, one Thaddeus Sholto, is found dead and Thaddeus is arrested, it’s up to Sherlock Holmes to capture the perpetrator…
I decided to take a look at this one as it’s The Sign Of Three on Sherlock tonight and I thought I’d be prepared. I think it’s fair to say that not much of this is going to make it into the episode…
It’s been mentioned plenty of times that I didn’t read much Holmes when I was younger, so I come to most of the stories – in particular the novels – with a more critical eye. This is the second novel, written before the short stories (I think) so it’s only Holmes’ second appearance.
OK, before I get to the nigh-blasphemous part of the review – Holmes is on great form here. From the deduction from Watson’s pocket watch (which Sherlock viewers will recognise as the mobile phone deductions from A Study In Pink), to the final chase, he’s a joy to read about. Which is why it’s such a shame that the rest of the novel is so dull.
Really dull. Full of flashbacks and back story which could have been covered in a fraction of the page count. I was a bit snippy in my review of A Study In Scarlet for the sudden left turn halfway through, but at least that section held my attention. In this one, I’m afraid, I kept drifting off.
I can see why Doyle switched to short stories after this, as there’s only enough modern-day plot to fill such a tale – and those bits are very well done. Just a shame there’s so much dull back-story.
Not recommended, but if you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes, you’ll read it anyway. Back to the short stories for me (soon).