Saturday, April 11, 2015

His Last Bow by Arthur Conan Doyle

I had a difficult time being drawn into "His Last Bow" by Arthur Conan Doyle. The cases weren't pulling me in quite as easily as they did before. Perhaps I weary of Sherlock Holmes in my Sherlock Holmes reading binge, this being the eighth book with one more to go yet. But as I continued to read, I realized that these were actually some of the more interesting cases to date. I adore the ignorant, brilliant detective. I must beg his forgiveness at my unfaithfulness, in my moment of weakness.

Wisteria Lodge
Sherlock Holmes is approached by Scott Eccles, whom is being pursued by two Inspectors on the suspected murder of Mr. Aloysius Garcia, of Wisteria Lodge. Scott Eccles explains the situation to Holmes. Having just met Mr. Aloysius Garcia, he was promptly invited days later to spend a few days at Wisteria Lodge. His host behaving oddly during his visit the first night. Upon awakening Scott Eccles finds himself to be alone in the house. The Host, the footman, the cook, all having vanished during the night. He is furious, thinking that he was victim of a absurd practical joke, and storms out. He approaches Holmes first, shortly after his arrival at 221B Baker Street the two Inspectors catch up to him. He then learns from the two Inspectors that Mr. Aloysius Garcia was found murdered on the road nearly a mile from the house, his head having received repeated, and vicious blows. A letter from Scott Eccles being found on the body, put the Inspectors onto his trail.
I found this to be one of the duller cases to be portrayed in the book, although there were quite a few plot twists involved.

The Cardboard Box
Miss Susan Cushing receives a small packet, wrapped in brown paper, in the mail. Inside was filled with course salt. Upon emptying this, she is horrified to find two human ears, apparently quite freshly severed. Lestrade asks for Holmes assistance on the case. Holmes soon comes to the conclusion that a double murder has been committed after observing the ears and declaring that they both came from a different person, one being a woman's and the other a man's.
I loved this case, however seemly gruesome it may come across as.

The Red Circle
Holmes is consulted by Mrs. Warren, a landlady, who is uneasy about the upstairs lodger. She only meets him the first time, afterwards he demands his privacy and doesn't want to be disturbed under any circumstance.
Although not entirely a dull read, this wasn't as fascinating a case as some of the others.

The Bruce-Partington Plans
Holmes is approached by his older brother, Mycroft. I was interested to read that Mycroft was part of the British Government. Never before in the series was this mentioned, and I often wondered why he played that part in the BBC television series when not in the book. Mycroft requests Holmes assistance because Arthur Cadogan West was found murdered with seven out of ten pages of the Bruce-Partington submarine plans, one of the top guarded government secrets. Did Arthur intend to sell the submarine plans? And where are the missing three pages?
This was a highly entertaining case, and one that really gave Holmes the chance to dig for clues.

The Dying Detective
Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of Sherlock Holmes, seeks Watson's help when Holmes falls ill. Holmes refuses medical treatment, and when three days have passed he appears to be at deaths door. Mrs. Hudson, fearing that he is dying, insists upon getting help. Holmes will only allow her to go to Dr. Watson. Upon his arrival Holmes will not allow Watson to come within hands reach of him, telling him that he has contacted a coolie disease from Sumatra, highly contagious by touch, and deadly. He implores Watson to wait until 6:00 PM, before he will allow Watson to collect Mr. Culverton Smith, the man best versed in the disease, but also the man that Holmes accused of the murder of Mr. Culverton Smith's nephew.
This was a edge of the seat read, no doubt about it. I was both anxious and concerned, but also in denial. Possibly the best case in "His Last Bow".

The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax 
Lady Frances has mysteriously disappeared. Holmes sends Watson in his stead, as he has pressing business elsewhere. Watson as usual, messes everything up, and Holmes has to swoop in to fix things.
While not a remarkable case, the end had me totally enthralled.

The Devils Foot
The Vicar draws Holmes attention to surely one of the most mysterious cases to date. The Vicar speaks for Mr. Mortimer Tregennis, whom has just discovered that the three siblings that he had only just visited the prior night have had a most unusual event occur after his departure. Something caused his sister to die of fright, and his two brothers to go insane from shock. Sherlock suspects Mortimer of foul play, but Mortimer is discovered the following morning also dead. Cause of death, fright.
This was the best case that I have read to date. It was just perfect in every single way.

His Last Bow
This truly is show cased around Sherlock Holmes last case. His last bow. I did not see it coming, and was pleasantly surprised with the results. It was odd to read of a older version of Sherlock, and Watson.

My Rating : *****

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