This collection of the best six of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle''s 56 Sherlock Holmes detective stories is a true feast for the heart of any detective or crime fiction aficionado.
The first story is THE SPECKLED BAND. This story begins with an early morning, pre-breakfast visit from a very distraught young woman--prematurely aged from worry, loneliness and grief. She is an heiress, who comes into money from her deceased mother''s estate upon her marriage, which is due to occur within the month. She is frantic with worry, however, because her cruel, brutish and evil stepfather (who will lose her share of his late wife''s estate upon her nuptials), has moved her into the very bedroom wherein her sister died mysteriously some years earlier, a few days before SHE was to have been married, and so would have received her inheritance. He, formerly a medical doctor in the Orient, has followed the young lady to London, and bursts in threatening Holmes, calling him a meddler. This only makes the detective more determined to help, as he has generously agreed to aid her. The adventure proceeds to an inevitable, and yet thoroughly surprising, conclusion that makes it one of the best pieces of detective fiction short fiction ever written.
The other five stories include
A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA,
THE ADVENTURE OF THE DANCING MEN,
THE FINAL PROBLEM, and
THE EMPTY HOUSE.
In SILVER BLAZE, the favorite stakes horse vanishes, apparently without a trace, on the moors of England. His trainer is found dead, his stableboy guard drugged into a stupor, and the obvious, potential culprit''s guilt presenting some nearly insurmountable difficulties to anyone, except England''s greatest detective.
In A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA, a mysterious stranger appears in Holmes'' quarters, on an errand of greatest importance to the crowned heads of Europe--the retrieval or destruction of a compromising photograph of the King of Bohemia and a beautiful opera singer, with whom he had once been infatuated. Sherlock Holmes meets THE Woman in his life.
THE ADVENTURE OF THE DANCING MEN is a cute bijou of a tale, set in England but with American repercussions and roots.
The final two tales detail Holmes'' final, fatal encounter with Professor Moriarty and the capture of Captain Moran, Moriarty''s deputy and would-be avenger.
Finally, the book contains a half-page reprise of the author''s life, career and works.