Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection - Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry

“I am afraid, Watson, that I shall have to go,” said Holmes, as we sat down together to our breakfast one morning.
“Go! Where to?”
“To Dartmoor; to King’s Pyland.”

I was not surprised. Indeed, my only wonder was that he had not already been mixed up in this extraordinary case, which was the one topic of conversation through the length and breadth of England. For a whole day my companion had rambled about the room with his chin upon his chest and his brows knitted, charging and recharging his pipe with the strongest black tobacco, and absolutely deaf to any of my questions or remarks.

And so starts our favourite duo’s first excursion to Dartmoor – that place of mystery and fantastical beasts.

The mystery in this story is the death of John Straker, a horse trainer, and the fantastical beast in question is Silver Blaze, a famous race horse, which goes missing.

I wish I had many good things to say about the story or had noticed any interesting aspects in, but alas, no. As far a Holmes stories go, this is one of the most boring in the canon for me. I have no interest in horses, and even if I did, the horse doesn’t even feature for most of the story. Apart from some delightful banter between Holmes and Watson and some insightful descriptions by Watson of Holmes at the beginning, there is little in this story that kept me interested until we reach the conclusion.

The conclusion, however, is rather neat and does contain one of the most famous exchanges in all of the Holmes stories, and that I must applaud:

Colonel Ross still wore an expression which showed the poor opinion which he had formed of my companion’s ability, but I saw by the Inspector’s face that his attention had been keenly aroused.

“You consider that to be important?” he asked.

“Exceedingly so.”

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”

“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”

“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”

“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.


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