The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Genre: Mystery, Classical
"Set against the foggy, mysterious backdrops of London and the English countryside, these are the first twelve stories ever published to feature the infamous Detective Sherlock Holmes and his side kick Doctor Watson. They first appeared as stories in the Strand Magazine and feature some of his most famous and enjoyable cases, including 'A Scandal in Bohemia,' 'The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle' and 'The Red-headed League.'
If it's snowy or rainy outside and you're bored, this is the perfect book to pick up. The stories are well told and highly interesting. Most of the stories are so short that you can read them in-between a longer novel or just for a quick, fascinating read. Each of the stories is fairly unique, and the way Sherlock handles each one, with so much insight and intelligence, surprised me every time.
I've been watching the BBC Sherlock episodes (check them out if you haven't; they're great), which helped pique my interest to read the original stories. And be warned, these tales are quite different than the modern retelling. Besides the obvious reasons (the original stories are set several centuries ago, for one), Sherlock is less of a jerk in these written stories, but just as observant. There is also less about his and Watson's relationship. In fact, there's not much character development at all, which bothered me the most about these stories. But perhaps there is more in Doyle's novels; I haven't read them yet.
Watson also doesn't have much of a personality in the stories or does much to help Holmes. He acts mainly as an observant narrator. I was frustrated with him several times for not knowing things that even I, the reader, could guess at. I'm not sure why Holmes always asked him to come along on his adventures, unless he merely liked having someone praise his exceptional abilities.
However, Doyle does well at what he probably aimed to do: write mysteries. Thus, I award this novel a 3.5 and recommend it to 14 year olds and up.
Here's the link to theme song from the Sherlock episodes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-99pXoawt8 It's pretty epic.