This review will contain spoilers!
In many sentences:
The most unfortunate thing about The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is that it's so popular, and such a feature of our modern culture, that it now seems clichÃ© and overwrought. The two biggest examples of modern things that take from Sherlock Holmes are the tv shows Psych and House. Both, very blatantly, take their structure and mystery from the pages of Sherlock Holmes. This isn't a bad thing, because it's an excellent source to pull from, but in getting back to the original here, it makes it feel less, well, original.
I'm not sure if this collection of short stories was the best place to start reading Holmes, because much of it assumes and references prior cases that I wasn't familiar with, but it wasn't a terrible place to start either. The cases are all interesting, and as a grew more and more accustomed to the style, it got to the point where, even without all the clues that Holmes could see, I was starting to question many of the "obvious" answers that the police or Watson were assuming to be true. I think this shows a great skill on Doyle's part to develop a consistent believable character set in a logical world.
I was also impressed with how approachable the book still was. Despite being some 130 years old, it didn't feel old. I also found it entertaining that Watson was always brought along for help but, in the end, hardly ever did anything to help (aside from shooting the dog in the last story, at least).
My favorite cases were "Copper Beeches" and "Blue Carbuncle". Ultimately, the biggest praise I can give this book is that I am looking forward to reading the other novels and collections of Sherlock Holmes stories that Doyle wrote. I definitely recommend this to anyone (and it's availability for free online makes it a no-brainer).
"As to Miss Violet Hunter, my friend Holmes, rather to my disappointment, manifested no further interest in her when once she had ceased to be the centre of one of his problems, and she is now the head of a private school at Walsall, where I believe that she has met with considerable success."Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the Last Line of in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
"'The ideal reasoner,' he remarked, 'would, when he had once been shown a single fact in all its bearings, deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it but also all the results which would follow from it.'"Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes