Last night marked the end of an era for me. I read the very last of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Ever since I first watched Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, I have been fascinated with the Baker Street detective. For the past two months, I’ve been reading every Sherlock story I could get my hands on. And last night, suddenly, it was over.
After spending hours in Baker Street every day, feeling the dense London fog on my skin, breathing in the smell of Sherlock’s tobacco, and hearing the clacking of Dr. Watson’s typewriter as he recorded each story, it was bittersweet to have finished. When I first entered the world of Sherlock Holmes, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the private detective and his faithful companion would fascinate me so much. More than just fascinate me, they taught me many life lessons that I’ll carry with me the rest of my days. By reading about their adventures, I learned much about honor, justice, courage, patience, self-sacrifice, and loyalty.
As every book-lover knows, though, finishing a series for the first time isn’t really the end. That is the beauty of books – any time I get too lonely for Baker Street, all I have to do is pick up The Study in Scarlet. In less time than it takes to say, “My dear Holmes”, I can be back at the beginning, seeing Dr. Watson and Sherlock meet for the first time. For now, though, after 61 stories of excitement, mystery and adventure, I’m content. I want to bask in Sherlock’s triumph for a while. He’s out-witted, out-smarted, and out-deduced every criminal mind in London as well as the inspectors at Scotland Yard. I think he deserves at least a few months of quiet bee-keeping in the countryside.
Much more than the excitement and intrigue of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, I enjoyed getting to know the characters. Every walk through the streets of London, every lazy winter evening spent poring over the agony column of the newspaper, every long train ride through the country with Sherlock and Watson was precious to me. Through watching their friendship develop and deepen, they became my faithful companions. As the loyal doctor is so often called “friend Watson” by Mr. Holmes, I feel that now I can say the same for both of them. Being able to say “friend Sherlock” and” friend Watson” was, to me, the most exciting adventure of all.
A few words may suffice to tell the little that remains. An examination by experts leaves little doubt that reading the stories ended, as it could hardly fail to end, in extreme satisfaction and contentment. And there, on a place of honor on my bookshelf will stand for all time the most faithful doctor, and the foremost champion of the law of their generation. This is due to the loyal chronicler and companion who has endeavoured to preserve the memory of him whom I shall ever regard as the best and wisest man whom I have ever known.