To close out Sherlock Month, Dinara Tengri is here again with a review of one of the lesser-known Sherlock Holmes stories, Adventure of the Creeping Man. This sounds like it might be a perfect read for Halloween. Take it away, Dinara!
I've been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was about twelve years old. Back then, one of my favourite short stories was Adventure of the Creeping Man. It was so scary and disturbing, that I was haunted by the image of a grown man creeping on all fours with a mad look on his face. For my guest post on Book Bloggers International I wanted to do something special, so I've read Creeping Man for the first time in over a decade, to find out if it's as good as I remember it.
Adventure of the Creeping Man was published in 1923 and it's one of the lesser popular Sherlock Holmes stories. This is where Conan Doyle blurred the line between realism and science fiction, and introduced the element of paranormal to the Sherlock Holmes Universe. And I think a lot of people were confused by this.
The story follows a case of a renowned scientist who all of a sudden becomes irrational and volatile. His behaviour becomes ever more bizarre at night, when he starts creeping around the house and climbing up the walls, scaring the living daylight out of his family. Desperate, his family turns to the most famous consulting detective in the world.
The first thing that stands out about this story is that it's very short. Personally, I like brevity. But is Creeping Man too short? The case is solved so quickly and with so little effort that as a reader you don't get enough time to really sink into the story.
On the bright side, this story is as scary and unsettling as I remember it. Conan Doyle paints such vivid and detailed images of the creeping scientist, that you can really see yourself standing there, scared and very, very confused. But it's not just the images that are making you feel uncomfortable. It's the whole idea of having a member of your family, someone you think you know so well, suddenly turn into someone else.
Also, this story is very funny, particularly one scene, near the climax. Just thinking about it now makes me laugh.
This is not the best of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Despite all its flaws, though, I like it because the spooky bits and the humour more than make up for them. That's why I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.
So, have you read Adventure of the Creeping Man? What did you think about it?