Review

A Case Of Identity by Arthur Conan Doyle

In A Case Of Identity by Arthur Conan Doyle, a young woman with considerable income falls in love with a man, much against her stepfather’s wishes.

The young couple seek each other’s company furtively for a short time and then with the blessing of lady’s mother, decide to marry.

sherlock-holmes But, a curious incident occurs at the altar of church spoiling Miss Mary Sutherland’s future prospects and she has to seek the counsel of Sherlock Holmes to locate her paramour Mr. Hosmer Angel.

Would Holmes be able to trace Mr. Angel? Whose identity is to be discovered and what is going to happen to the bewildered Mary?

As I continued reading the third story of the collection Adventures with Sherlock Holmes, these and many other questions pounded my head and I desperately read the story at breakneck speed, curious to solve the mystery that appeared too simple to Holmes, but was complicated enough for me and Dr. Watson.

I have long since stopped viewing these Adventures as murder mysteries. The present collection is a beautiful bouquet of pure detective short stories, entertaining without any major incident. Holmes is charismatic enough to make even the simplest everyday mysteries appear as majestic and A Case Of Identity is one of its finest example. It expertly highlights one of the most common occurrences of our society, where innocent women are often taken for a ride. I was really touched by Holmes’ final call, giving precedence to sensitive emotions over hard core intellect.

A Case of Identity is my fifth outing with Holmes and by now, I have got used to a client entering 221B Baker Street, the moment Holmes and Watson get together. This narrative technique by Doyle always leaves me impressed as he is able to draw the reader into the story without any boring flashbacks. With each story, Watson is also getting stronger, well settled into the role of friend-assistant-cum-narrator. He has begun to make his own logical conclusions and I just loved to read his simple theories in contrast to Holmes’ well expounded ones.

Of course, Holmes is as usual brilliant. Here, also he continued to make astute observations on the basis of physical and symptomatic signals and managed to surprise both Miss Mary and me.

A slight mention of A Scandal in Bohemia was made in passing as the only failure of Sherlock, again making me nostalgic for Irene Adler whom I hope to meet somewhere down the collection.

In a nutshell, A Case of Identity is yet another feather in ACD’s proverbial hat and I must say that his narration is improving by leaps and bounds. Now he even translated Sherlock’s quotes alluding to Persian wisdom so that even lesser ones like me could understand the pithy comments. Quite a good read.

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