Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Adventure of the Gloria Scott, by Arthur Conan Doyle

noonlightreads is hosting a chronological Sherlock Holmes Challenge during 2017 and 2018. I've read a few Sherlock stories/novels and I've always been meaning to read more so I jumped at the chance to join this ambitious challenge. The first story on this massive list was the Adventure of the Gloria Scott and I have to say I loved it.

The Adventure of the Gloria Scott was published as part of the twelve story collection "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" in 1893 and is chronologically the earliest case in the Sherlock Holmes canon. Most of the Sherlock Holmes stories I've read in the past were during the mid period of his career and it was fascinating to see Sherlock Holmes before he became the Sherlock Holmes we all know and love/hate/admire. This case is narrated by Sherlock and is a mystery within a mystery and as far as I'm concerned it's a must read for anyone interested in Sherlock Holmes and what pushed him to dedicate his life to the art of deduction. 

The Adventure of the Gloria Scott opens with Sherlock Holmes telling Watson about one of his very first cases. During his time at university he befriended a fellow "outsider" named Victor Trevor and was invited to the home of Victor's father for a month during a break from their studies. It's here that the mystery really starts. During a conversation Holmes revealed his prowess at deduction and Victor's father, Mr. Trevor, was amazed at what Holmes could deduce from just a few details. When Sherlock mentioned that he deduced Mr Trevor was once connected to someone with the initials "J.A" due to the initials being tattooed on his arm Mr Trevor passed out and gave a false account of who J.A was. Sherlock thought he made Mr Trevor uncomfortable and decided to leave the next day but before he could take his leave a man, a former shipmate of Mr Trevor, turned up at the house looking for work. Later that evening Holmes and Victor found Mr Trevor passed out drunk on a lounge.

Sherlock took his leave the next day and spent the next seven weeks honing his skills and embarking on chemistry experiments until suddenly he received a telegram from Victor urging him to come back to Mr. Trevor's house. When he arrived Mr. Trevor had just passed away from complications relating to a stroke. During the seven weeks that Holmes was away he discovered the old shipmate, Hudson, was making life uncomfortable and impossible for both Victor and Mr Trevor. After clashing with Victor, Hudson left and announced he was going to see Beddoes, a fellow shipmate of both Mr Trevor and himself. A letter soon arrived for Mr Trevor from Fordingbridge where Beddoes lived. The letter itself was somewhat of a riddle and was intelligible to Victor but Holmes worked out that each third word made up a harrowing sentence "The game is up. Hudson has told all. Fly for your life." Clearly there was a terrible secret that all three had been hiding for decades.

Mr. Trevor had left a letter explaining that years before they had all been convicts sent on a voyage to
Australia. Once on the ship had set sail Mr. Trevor found out there was a conspiracy to take over the ship. I think you can all guess where this is heading. Basically everyone died except for Trevor, Beddoes and Hudson and a few other men. Trevor and Beddoes made fortunes when they eventually arrived in Australia and returned home as rich men. Soon after Mr. Trevor died in the present Beddoes and Hudson were never heard from again. The police assumed Hudson had killed Beddoes but Holmes was of the opinion that Beddoes had killed Hudson and had fled the country with as much money as he could take.

I really liked this story. It was a mystery within a mystery and gave the reader insight on Sherlock Holmes as a young man and as it was the first Sherlock Holmes case I think its required reading for every Holmes aficionado.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

January 2017;

It's the first second of the month where I live so I'd like to start this post wishing everyone a Happy New Year! I was going to start this post talking about 2016 but suffice to say it was a hard year for a lot of people and I'd rather look towards 2017.

I have some lofty aspirations for my 2017 reading year and I hope to achieve most of my reading goals but if I don't thats okay too. I'm a university student and have other commitments so I'm going to try and keep the challenges I take part in to a minimum so I can focus on completing them. I'm also going to rework my Classics Club list because there are a lot of novels on there from the 1900s that I just dont want to read. I'd rather replace them with older works that I know I'll love. The changes wont be too drastic though.

As you all know I'm hosting the Russian Literature Challenge for 2017 and I'm pleased with the amount of people who will be joining me. Along with that I'll be continuing my Turgenev Project and plan to finish that late this year or early next year. I'm also doing a Clarissa Project. As for challenges I plan to join the Deal Me in Challenge, Back to the Classics, a TBR challenge, a Sherlock Holmes challenge, a Lord of the Rings readalong and a Victorian Reading Challenge. So really I'm not keeping my challenges to a minimum. Oops!

All my lists for each challenge can be found here: xxxx (its a work in progress I'm a little bit slower this year)

As for January I'm currently reading Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev (will I ever finish this? stay tuned), Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (for my year long Clarissa Project) and I finished a Sherlock Holmes story last night for another challenge. I also have to draw out my first card for the Deal Me In Challenge. I'm trying not to plan to far ahead because plans change but this month I want to start the Oresteia by Aeschylus, another Russian work, Cicero's Letters and possibly Mansfield Park. Other than that I'm just going to keep my options open.

I hope everyone has a great start of year!