In this story, Holmes and Dr. Watson meet for the first time and decide to share the flat in Baker Street that becomes their base of operations for the ensuing mysteries. And, of course, a murder mystery becomes their first case together.
The story—at least for the first half—is very much what you’d expect from Sherlock Holmes: bumbling detectives from Scotland Yard, Holmes’s condescending superiority as he displays his superior analytical acumen, and Watson’s amazement at the whole process.
But the second half gets weird. Feeling it necessary to provide a full back-story for the murderer and victim, we’re suddenly thrown into a semi-history of the Mormon religion and history, and a wild-west American atmosphere that is vastly jarring after Holmes’s London. I may be wrong, but I don’t think Doyle does this in his later books? (At least, I hope not. It was weird.)
So for me, it was a decent, but not a fantastic start on my journey through the world of Sherlock Holmes. On to The Sign of Four.