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His Last Bow by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

His Last Bow (1917)

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Sherlock Holmes (8)

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Most of the collection rates a 3.5, because the stories, while longer, are not quite as gripping as the classics such as you might find in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Still, as a fan of the TV show Sherlock, I found it neat to go back to the source material and find where Moffat and Gatiss got their inspiration. "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans", for example, inspired the episode "The Great Game", and "The Adventure of the Dying Detective" inspired "The Lying Detective". And Holmes and Watson are always reliable entertainment, even if it's not edge-of-your-seat entertainment. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Feb 4, 2017 |
This should have been the last Sherlock Holmes story Conan Doyle wrote; being set on the very eve of the First World War (and written in 1917), it has a world-weary and seemingly significantly older Holmes and Watson foiling the plans of a German agent Von Bork to steal vital military and other technical data, and feels in all respects like the end of an era, including being written in the third person, unlike the earlier stories. In fact Conan Doyle published a further twelve stories throughout the last decade of his life, the 1920s, collected together as The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, stories widely seen as considerably inferior to the earlier stories and novellas featuring the Great Detective. This one is a real masterpiece with a strong impact on the reader. ( )
  john257hopper | Jan 17, 2017 |
The last book in this series that my library has. Bummer. I enjoyed the stories, enjoyed the narration, and I even got used to the musical interludes. My favorite short story in this episode was "His Last Bow". This was an interesting story leading up to WWI and has Holmes getting Watson and others involved in political intrigue. " ( )
  jguidry | May 31, 2016 |
The stories are starting to become repetitive now, they are still exciting individually but I think that some themes and situations are cropping up again from earlier stories (i.e. the 'moors', supernatural elements that really aren't, evildoers who get away scott free, some of the language and character interactions, not too mention the noble, expositionary character who confesses to murder but whom Holmes allows to go free).

This is a totally unfair criticism of course because they were originally published separately over the space of a few years and so I'm reading them in a way that Conan-Doyle never intended. Certainly to readers of the day, the repeating elements would have been far less obvious and they would just have been excited to read the next installment and probably wouldn't have had so easy a time comparing the stories as I have, their being laid out side by side for me. Still it's obvious that he was running out of steam on the Holmes front at this point.

Also, I'm not sure if I'm becoming a more sophisticated mystery reader (answer: I'm not) but I'm finding that the denouements of most of these stories are so predictable that it lessens the enjoyment somewhat, especially in "The Adventure of the Dying Detective" - I wanted to say "Holmes is clearly just setting a trap for the Doctor!" virtually from page one! Regardless, I still think these are worth reading, because the short stories are still better than the novels and the fun outweighs everything else. Just about. ( )
  MartynChuzz | Feb 22, 2016 |
In this story, we are on the eve of the First World War, and Von Bork, a German agent, is getting ready to leave England with his vast collection of intelligence, gathered over a four-year period. His wife and household have already left Harwich for Flushing in the Netherlands, leaving only him and his elderly housekeeper. Von Bork's diplomat friend, Baron von Herling, is impressed by his collection of vital British military secrets, and tells Von Bork that he will be received in Berlin as a hero. Von Bork indicates that he is waiting for one last transaction with his Irish-American informant, Altamont, who will arrive shortly with a rich treasure: naval signals.
Von Herling leaves. Von Bork then hears another car arriving. It is Altamont. By this time, the old housekeeper has turned her light off and retired. Altamont shows him a package.
Altamont proceeds to disparage Von Bork's safe, but Von Bork proudly says that nothing can cut through the metal, and that it has a double combination lock. He even tells Altamont the combination: "August 1914". Altamont then insinuates that German agents get rid of their informants when they are finished with them, naming several who have ended up in prison. Altamont's mistrust of Von Bork is evident in his refusal to hand over the package before he gets his check. Von Bork, for his part, wants to examine the document before handing over the check.
Altamont hands him the package. Upon opening it, he finds it to be a book called Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, hardly what he expected. Even less expected is the chloroform-soaked rag that is held in his face by Altamont a moment later. Altamont, it turns out, is none other than Sherlock Holmes, and the chauffeur who brought him is Dr. Watson. Now much older than in their heyday, they have nonetheless not only caught several spies (Holmes is actually responsible for the imprisoned agents of whom he spoke) in their return from retirement, but fed the Germans some thoroughly untrustworthy intelligence. Holmes has been on this case for two years, and it has taken him to Chicago, Buffalo, and Ireland, where he learnt to play the part of a bitter Irish-American, even gaining the credentials of a member of a secret society. He then identified the security leak through which British secrets were reaching the Germans.
The housekeeper was part of the plot too. The light that she switched off was the signal to Holmes and Watson that the coast was clear.
They drive Von Bork and all of the evidence to Scotland Yard.
At the end, it is revealed that Holmes has retired from active detective work. He spends his days beekeeping in the countryside and writing his definitive work on investigation.
The story is the last chronological installment of the series, though yet another collection (The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes), set before the story, was published four years later. In reference to the impending World War I, Holmes concludes,
"There's an east wind coming, Watson."
"I think not, Holmes. It is very warm."
"Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared."
The patriotic sentiment of the above passage has been widely quoted, and was later used in the final scene of the Basil Rathbone film Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942), set in World War II, implied to have been a fictitious quote of Winston Churchill.
Another excellent plot, I recommend this book to the permanent library of any reader that appreciates a well written mystery story, mainly featuring Mr. Sherlock Holmes. ( )
  rmattos | Jan 23, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sir Arthur Conan Doyleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Edwards, Owen DudleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klinger, Leslie S.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The friends of Mr. Sherlock Holmes will be glad to learn that he is still alive and well, thought somewhat crippled by occasional attacks of rheumatism.
There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.
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Disambiguation notice
Conan Doyle used His Last Bow as the title of both a short story, and a collection of 8 short stories that included the story of the same title. This work is for the collection of 8 short stories; DO NOT combine it with the work that represents the individual short story.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0755334434, Paperback)

About to spring out upon my appalled senses, lurked all that was vaguely horrible, all that was monstrous and inconceivably wicked in the universe'. A dense yellow fog descends upon London. Tricksters, thieves and murderers stalk their prey undetected. Lawlessness abounds but it is no match for the penetrating mind of Sherlock Holmes as he investigates the strangest of cases. A woman receives a gruesome package - two human ears in a box. A vital government secret is threatened with exposure. Miss Brenda Tregennis is found scared to death - could she really have died from fright alone? And when the stability of the country is threatend, Holmes' unrivalled talents are called upon once again ...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:50 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"In Sherlock Holmes' world, the tricksters, thieves and murderers who stalk their prey undetected use the strangest and most sinister weapons. A women receives a gruesome package - two human ears in a box. A vital government secret is threatened with exposure. And a Miss Brenda Tregennis is found literally scared to death - could she really have died from fright alone? Even in the gloom of a London gog, Holmes sees and observes everything... As the ageing Holmes seeks a quieter life, Watson celebrates his earlier triumphs in this stunning collection of stories. But when the stability of the country is threatened, Holmes' unrivalled talents are called upon once again..."--Book cover.… (more)

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Average: (3.91)
2 9
2.5 1
3 73
3.5 24
4 129
4.5 8
5 71

Tantor Media

3 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400101697, 1400111323, 1400115205

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 1909175668, 1909175560


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