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June 2, 2012 12:21 pm  #1


Least favorite story from the canon

Okay, I know I'm bordering on heresy here, but no one's perfect, and without question, some of Conan Doyle's Holmes stories were, shall we say, not necessarily his best work.

What is your least favourite story of the original 60?

Mine is, without a doubt, The Mazarin Stone. Interestingly, in the world of those who treat Holmes as an actual historical figure, and the stories as chronicles of true events, there are many who say this story wasn't "real", and never happened.


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June 3, 2012 3:31 am  #2


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

It's a tie between Three Gables and The Five Orange Pips. Both are just so outdated in terms of attitudes towards different groups and races that they were just...blah. Most of the stories have aged quite gracefully. These two cannot be counted among that number.


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June 17, 2012 10:51 am  #3


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

The Adventure of Crooked Man, is the one that I think that is the least satisfying. Sherlock just caught an suspected Animal Trainer, and then the real cause of death of the Colonel in the story is just a heart stroke, or, apoplexy.

 

June 17, 2012 4:57 pm  #4


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

Smoggy_London_Air wrote:

It's a tie between Three Gables and The Five Orange Pips. Both are just so outdated in terms of attitudes towards different groups and races that they were just...blah. Most of the stories have aged quite gracefully. These two cannot be counted among that number.

Yes, aside from weak plot and mystery in some of the stories, I have a problem with the shadow of racism. Also, sexism, although it's a little gentler.

 

June 18, 2012 9:05 am  #5


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

I can't exactly explain it but when I first read the canon when I was a kid, i was bored by the Hound of the Baskervilles. IDK, but for the young me, it wasn't so gripping as I thought it would be.


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June 18, 2012 7:35 pm  #6


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

I wouldn't really like to say at the moment because I still have a few I haven't read. There are some that don't stand out as much as others but I wouldn't be able to tell you which ones because I can't remember their names (see what I'm saying about not standing out, lol)....But I've not read one that I've hated or strongly disliked yet.


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January 14, 2013 6:40 pm  #7


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

The Final Problem, The Empty House, The Creeping Man, and A Case of Identity.

 

January 15, 2013 2:01 pm  #8


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

The Yellow Face. I'm not sure why, but it just didn't amuse me all that much. Maybe I just had a bad day when I was reading it


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January 15, 2013 2:31 pm  #9


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

I opt for The Creeping Man. I have always found the story bizarre and wasn´t satisfied with the plot development.


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January 24, 2013 10:56 am  #10


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

The ones narrated by Holmes! He doesn't tell as good a story as Watson.


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January 24, 2013 9:42 pm  #11


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

A Case of Identity, The Creeping Man, The Adventure of the Three Students...

The Mazarin Stone was originally supposed to have Colonel Moran as the hero in it, I think. It stands out just as The Lion's Mane an The Blanched Soldier do for being told by Holmes in first person.

Also, if The Five Orange Pips and the Three Gables have outdated attitudes, then A Study in Scarlet is a completely misinformed caricature of Mormon life as is The Sign of The Four of the stereotypical "savage".


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March 9, 2013 12:14 pm  #12


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

I would say, The creeping man and the mazarin stone. 

By the way, some of the things I read here amaze me very much for instance:

'the once narrated by holmes'

have you read the blanchet soldier? definitively a great story

'I was bored by the hound of the baskervilles' 

Okay... that is impossible ;)
 


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March 9, 2013 1:09 pm  #13


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

I'm not sure I understand the objections to 'The Five Orange Pips'.  I wouldn't count it as a favourite, but unless I've read a Bowdlerised version, it doesn't seem to be all that outdated.  The client's uncle is quite realistic for his time and background - to say his beliefs are outdated is to deny history  (or the present, as Hank Williams Jr and others have expressed similar attitudes toward Obama's presidency).  The uncle is not given a particularly sympathetic portrayal - even considering that we see him through the eyes of his nephew - and appears to have repented his involvement in the KKK, referring to that involvement as his 'sins'.

Holmes has nothing but outrage at the KKK's activities - perhaps I missed something, but I don't see anything in his description of the group that is offensive or racist.  True, he is unable to save the nephew and does not get the murderers, but they don't get off, either.  A higher power/karma/fate intervenes.

My objection to the story would be be historical inaccuracy - obviously, the KKK was unfortunately not disbanded in 1869 and some of the 'better society' of the South were and still are its leaders.  (And it's not limited to the South, of course - my city in the West was run by the KKK in the 1920s.)

'The Sign of Four' is far more racist, and I agree with Lupin's comment above in regard to the Mormons in 'A Study in Scarlet'.  I really disliked 'A Case of Identity', however - there is no justice at all in that one, and there is an implication that women are simply too stupid or emotional to accept the truth.

Last edited by erunyauve (March 9, 2013 1:17 pm)


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March 9, 2013 4:24 pm  #14


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

I think it is stupid to say that these works are 'racist' you have to read this with the values of that time. Just like people boycotting Tintin in africa. 


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March 9, 2013 8:12 pm  #15


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

I don't like longer stories in general: for example "Study in Scarlet" has a good beginning and a good epilogue, but the Mormon story in the middle is long and boring. The same thing, or even worse, "The Sign of Four", I am rereading it just now, but I am not sure I will be even able to finish, I got boooored. It seems to me that ACD had definitely structural problems with longer narratives.

 

March 10, 2013 12:08 pm  #16


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

Jacco111 wrote:

I think it is stupid to say that these works are 'racist' you have to read this with the values of that time. Just like people boycotting Tintin in africa. 

Oh, I agree that you have to look at a work in its proper context.  I felt that 'The Five Orange Pips' would pass the litmus test of today, whereas some of ACD's other works wouldn't - but I do understand that some of his more 'offensive' portrayals were the norm of his day.  And in some ways, ACD was quite enlightened for his time.


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Sherlock: And you invaded Afghanistan.
John: That wasn't *just* me.
 

March 10, 2013 9:47 pm  #17


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

One thing that struck me as I was reading ACD collective works of Sherlock Holmes, was that many of the cases just consisted of a client telling their story.  While the stores were sometimes interesting, they had little to do with Holmes and his ability to solve a mystery.  A lot of the times the mystery solved itself.  And I agree that some of the 'stories within a story' such as with A Study in Scarlet or Sign of Four were confusing. You are thinking "what happened to Sherlock??".  One exception: The Valley of Fear. I really enjoyed the story within the story in that one.

Having head about Sherlock Holmes all my life, I thought I knew what I was getting when I decided, finally, to read the orignial works. But the reality was quite different.  Still, some stores were very good.

What I do admire ACD for is that sometimes, despite Holmes' best try,  a innocent person got killed.  And sometimes Sherlock didn't catch the killers - but they got their justice anyway. I felt these types of outcomes were more 'real'. There was one story, the title  I forget, where Holmes and Watson acutally hid behind curtains and let a murder take place - but the individual being murdered deserved it anyway!  I would like our modern Sherlock to take on that story.

I must re-read the works again!  The racist and sexist parts of some stores, were, unfortunately, typcal of the time and place ADC lived, and the man he was (white, upper middle class).  But luckily, these instances are not too common in his combined works.

 

March 11, 2013 1:34 pm  #18


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

Yes, we must try to avoid making moral judgments upon people living in different times from our own.


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March 24, 2013 12:33 pm  #19


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

The two Sherlock Holmes wrote himself are pretty rubbish IMO (is it the Mazrin Stone and the Blanched Soldier?). 

And the Valley of Fear...that's the only Sherlock Holmes story I have to confess I never got through. 

I have to say I think the earlier stories-the Adventures, Memoirs and Return-are by far the best overall. 


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March 26, 2013 1:17 am  #20


Re: Least favorite story from the canon

Kinda surprised no one mention "The Veiled Lodger."


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