Crimes and Punishments takes place over the course of six perplexing, well-written cases that give Holmes ample opportunities to do what Holmes does best: Snoop around crime scenes for clues, interrogate suspects, and talk down to just about everyone he meets. Murder is afoot in each of the cases, but that doesn’t stop them from being diverse; from a gruesome death by whaling harpoon to an Egyptian-style ritual killing, the plots had me riveted. And like a good winding mystery, the person who did it is rarely the one you suspect initially.
My one criticism about the structure of these cases is that they’re all standalone stories, with nothing really linking them together except for the involvement of Holmes and his trusty chronicler, Dr. Watson. Holmes’ brother Mycroft, a British government official, shows up early on to foreshadow the concluding case, but otherwise the anthology just…ends. No overarching mystery, no grand denouement.