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Last month I caught a few episodes of the Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes series on ITV3. I think the last time I read the original stories I was still at school. So I’ve spent the past fortnight reading the five books of Holmes short stories. And very good they were too. The plots and characters are so familiar, but I’d forgotten how enjoyable a read they are, and how much atmosphere they have.

Mind you, Doyle loses it with the final book, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes. The plots go to pot, the atmosphere dissipates, several stories aren’t narrated by Watson (and suffer as a result), and there are more jokes. I think he must have been rather bored of writing them by the 1920s.

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