Books, How's This Book?, Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Yellow Face

After a long break, I finally return to the legendary detective! That’s right! It’s time to review another classic Sherlock Holmes story!

Part of what makes Sherlock Holmes so long-lasting is his flexibility. You can twist the typical mystery into several different genres and it would work just as well! Since he’s proficient in combat, he can fit in very well in a more action-packed mystery. Or, in the case of this story, put him in a more chilling narrative!

The Adventure of the Yellow Face is, in my opinion (which is what you came here for, I’d hope), one of the creepiest Sherlock Holmes stories. Not only does it tell a compelling mystery, but it also delivers a tale that is both chilling and heartwarming. It’s a short but satisfying package.

Let me break down the plot real quick. Sherlock and Watson are doing their normal thing, being bored and making deductions that don’t play into the story at all, when they’re visited by Grant Munro. He brings with him a case for the legendary detective to solve. His wife, Effie, who had formerly been married in America, has been acting strangely recently, between asking for one hundred pounds out of the blue and visiting their new neighbors without his notice. When he goes to confront them, believing that something suspicious is afoot, he finds the entire cottage empty. In the attic, where he had seen a yellow-faced girl some time ago, he only finds a picture of his wife.

That initial mystery of the yellow-faced girl is introduced perfectly! She behaves much like a ghost, sitting back and staring. Combine that with the nervous, almost terrified behavior of Effie and the sudden disappearance at the end, you have a premise that sounds more like a horror story than a Sherlock Holmes adventure! It’s a wonderful change of pace from his usual fare!

Then the end takes a sudden, but deserved, twist at the end. Suddenly, it transforms from a horror story to a heartwarming tale of connecting families. It’s simple, sure, but it was enough to put a smile on my face. Sometimes, a good ol’ fashioned happy ending isn’t so bad.

Now, I do have one major complaint. This is one of those stories where Sherlock practically figures it out immediately, without much struggle. This does kind of suck away some of the tension for the reader. Part of the fun is watching Sherlock struggle; for him to pour over a pipe to crack the case. But here, he practically just waves a hand and bam! The case is solved like magic.

Still, despite that issue, I do enjoy this story quite a bit! It genuinely creeped me out, then put a big grin on my face. It was a short and satisfying read. Though I do feel that, in terms of actual mystery, this one was a bit lacking.

When can crack it before Sherlock can, you know it isn’t going to be much of a case.

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