I enjoyed A Study in Charlotte, but The Last of August has a paranoid tone through the whole book that I just couldn’t get past. It was not pleasant, I was not entertained, and the entire time I was reading it, I was on edge.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, the resolution of an unsettling or paranoid set of circumstances can be a relief and the paranoia contrasts enough with the relief to make you focus on that. Not this time. Watson suspects that he is being used by the entire Holmes clan in this particular mystery that revolves around stolen art and stolen identities. The resolution is not particularly satisfying and it feels so personal that it was unpleasant.
I suppose that was the point – reading, to a degree, is about putting yourself in the hands of the author, asking to have your emotions manipulated. It doesn’t always have to be pleasant, and sometimes not enjoying the experience is the point. But it was not what I needed.