The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes was initially published in 1894 after each of the individual stories contained within had appeared separately in The Strand magazine. This collection was the follow-up to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which introduced the detective and his loyal companion Dr. John Watson. The Memoirs are generally considered the superior to the collection which introduced the detective, but not as strong as the stories he solved in the next collection following his resurrection. Yes, indeed, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes draws to a close with Dr. John Watson disconsolate in his conviction that Holmes and his nemesis Prof. Moriarty fell to their deaths after a struggle atop Reichenbach Falls.
Before Sherlock has that fateful meeting which may or not have played out as Watson imagines, he embarks upon a series of adventures that start off with a bang with his clever solving of the disappearance of a missing racehorse thanks to what the dog infamously did not do in the night. After that is a memorable tale of sibling rivalry and revenge gone wrong that kicks off with the arrival of one of the most gruesome clues in any Holmes mystery: two severed ears inside a box delivered to a home.
From there the collection takes a slight dip in interest before spiking sharply as Holmes puts his powers to the test to solve a riddle that will reveal the whereabouts of one of the lost treasures of British history. A tepid visit to a friend of Dr. Watson turns out to be a chance for the reader to catch their breath before settling down into five of the strongest tales in the entire canon.
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes ends with a whirlwind of tales including back to back adventures of some of the best revenge plots in the entire canon before introducing a trio of the most reprehensible villains who actually manage to escape the country before Holmes can apprehend them and yet another government official who nearly puts all of Europe into jeopardy with his exceptionally sloppy concept of security of state of secrets. All of which leads to the fever pitch of Holmes finally confronting the Napoleon of Crime, Prof. Moriarty, high over the raging waters of a waterfall.
“The Final Problems” turned out to be a somewhat premature title, of course, as fans would not allow author Arthur Conan Doyle to let Sherlock die. Three years after its initial publication, Sherlock would be resurrected in “The Empty House” which could become the first installment of the next collection of mysteries that were solved upon The Return of the Sherlock Holmes.