This is the shortest Holmes story collection: only eight stories and a preface written by Watson, explaining that Holmes is now retired to Sussex and keeping bees, and here are some stories he hasn’t yet published about their adventures, including their very last one. (All the stories in the last published book, The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes, apparently take place before “His Last Bow” as well.)
Because of the shortness, you feel it a little bit more when a story is a dud. In particular, I thought the first, double-length story, “The Adventure on Wisteria Lane,” was a bit dull. Though, to be fair, my mind wandered quite a bit and I didn’t pay it the strictest attention. I claim this is because it was dull, but I suppooooose it might have been more interesting with more attention paid.
I very much enjoyed most of this book. “The Adventure of the Dying Detective” and “The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot” were highlights for me. “Dying Detective” has Holmes up to shenanigans (this time faking his own impending demise, tricking Watson in the process) and “Devil’s Foot” has an intriguing premise which it doesn’t waste.
Mostly I just sort of can’t believe I’m almost done with the entire Holmes canon.
[3.5 stars, rounded up]