As I listened to this book as an audiobook narrated by Stephen Fry, I first would like to say a few words on the telling of this story. Fry is a wonderful narrator as he manages to tell the story like a fatherly figure telling into loved ones rather than a librarian at a children’s reading. The voice acting of the characters and the warmth in his voice make this a brilliant book the listen to.
This is the third instalment of the Sherlock Holmes canon but is the first collection of short stories. I felt that these stories would have benefited from being in chronological order within the book, if not within the entire published work. This sometimes made it hard to track the developments within each character as they move around. For example, sometimes Watson is living at Baker Street as an unmarried man, others he has not seem Holmes for a while due to his busy married life. These changes affect the relationship between the two characters and it is annoying having them bounce around throughout the volume.
Plot-wise, the quality varies from story to story. The longer tales in this tome had a lot more action and mystery about them and were more fun the listen to. The sorter ones had a habit of being very unmysterious, as the culprit was discovered halfway through the story, a few paragraphs after the mystery had finished being laid out. Speaking not only from my experience of Sherlock Holmes stories but also other crime/mystery novels, I prefer the chain of reasoning to come before the perpetrator has been announced rather than afterwards.