They work as a team, each having different roles. Sherlock Holmes is a fantastic detective, seen by many as the best. This is demonstrated when the King of Bohemia asks his help and many of the villain’s have heard of his skill so are wary, like Irene Adler and Dr Moriarty. Sherlock Holmes often holds back on his chain of reasoning, not revealing it or only giving cryptic hints until the very end, when he can explain all of his deductions at once. It is known that Sherlock Holmes is the occasional user (a habitual user when lacking in stimulating cases) of cocaine and morphine, though Watson describes this as Holmes’ “only vice”.
The thing I really like about Sherlock Holmes is he has a clear reason to do what he does. Sherlock Holmes is such a good detective because he distrusts the police. He rarely uses the police in the stories we have read except for The Man with the Twisted Lip when he visits Hugh Boone in police custody. At the time period the police were showing their lack of control, capability and incompetence with the case of “Jack the Ripper”. Jack the Ripper is an alias given to an unidentified serial killer active in the largely impoverished Whitechapel area and adjacent districts of London in the latter half of 1888.
It is generally agreed that he killed 5 victims all prostitutes, called “The canonical five victims” however he may have killed as many as 13 others. The police proved themselves completely hopeless in this case, arresting the wrong man completely and failing to catch the Jack at all. In fact Sherlock Holmes seems to have such a low opinion of them that when he is called a “Scotland Yard Jack-in-office” (an insolent fellow in authority, in this case Scotland Yard) he says, “Fancy his having the insolence to confound me with the official detective force! ”
Conan Doyle portrays Dr Watson as a capable and brave individual, whom Holmes does not hesitate to call upon for both moral and physical assistance. Dr Watson undoubtedly has much admiration for Sherlock Holmes as in A Scandal in Bohemia he says “endeavouring to imitate my companion’s processes” indicating he has a very high regard for Sherlock Holmes. He is very loyal to Sherlock Holmes too with him saying, “so accustomed was I to his invariable success that they very possibility of his failing had ceased to enter into my mind”. Dr Watson is naturally open and straightforward, while Holmes can be devious and secretive.
As readers and outsiders we do get the feeling that the pair is the best of friends, almost like brothers. I think that the literary partnership works so well because Dr Watson serves as a foil to Holmes: the ordinary man against the brilliant, emotionally-detached analytical machine that Holmes can sometimes be. With the two, Conan Doyle created a clever literary pairing: two vivid characters, so different in their functions and needs. I thought The Speckled Band was a really good story. It was interesting and had an unusual solution.
We were kept guessing even after Sherlock Holmes had solved the mystery! It did have a slightly odd ending with a snake being the solution. However I liked the way Dr Roylott got his comeuppance at the end. Despite all this, it faced fierce competition from the other stories and in the end I decided I like this one least. I am not a huge fan of detective stories and because this one was such a text book story, I decided I like more unconventional stories. I thought that The Man with the Twisted Lip was also good and I loved the twist at the end, with Hugh Boone being Mr.
St. Clair, although I had guessed as much. I felt sorry for them both and although it wasn’t a conventional detective story I enjoyed it just the same. I also enjoyed A Scandal in Bohemia because of its atypical villain. Irene Adler was unusual and I enjoyed reading about a woman rather than Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson all the time. Overall my favorite of the 4 stories that we have studied together is probably The Final Problem. I like it because it is so different. The story is unconventional in the sense that it subverts the typical detective storyline.
It is in essence another adventure of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson but ends with the death of Sherlock Holmes. There is no crime as such, only the tracking down and fleeing from a villain, Dr Moriarty. It is the story which shows the relationship at its best between the pair and is sad at the end. A boy appears and hands Watson a note, saying that there is a sick Englishwoman back at the hotel who wants an English doctor. Holmes realizes at once, although he does not say so, that it is a hoax. Watson goes to see about the patient, leaving Holmes alone.