Study Guide

The Return of Sherlock Holmes Tough-o-Meter

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


(3) Base Camp

Sherlock Holmes stories are great because they are short. You can get a dose of late-Victorian literature without slogging through hundreds of pages (we're looking at you, Henry James and Thomas Hardy). At any rate, the stories in The Return of Sherlock Holmes are pretty easy to read. The language and vocabulary isn't very difficult, though it is very British, so you might need to look up a few words. The plots are always easy enough to follow and if you're confused, fear not, because Holmes will explain it all to you in a nice and tidy ending. The only really tricky thing here can be the historical references. Having a familiarity with culture, politics, and society in 1890s Britain definitely enhances these stories; but these stories are still fun to read and understandable without a ton of historical background knowledge. Find a nice annotated edition, or use this handy Shmoop guide, and you'll be good to go.