We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
First off, just to note, "insensibly" in the English of the day meant "invariably."
I've read all of the Sherlock stories twice and I'd highly recommend them. What's fascinating is how little he has to go on. You're picturing him finding the usual clues; a bloody thumbprint, the imprint of a boot in the mud, a glove or something accidentally left behind by the murderer.
And what do you get?
A small scratch on the door frame. A tiny flake of cigar ash. A hairbrush lying on the floor.
And then that's it and it's back to the apartment! And you think, "Huh??"
Then he sits there contemplating for a few days, occasionally driving Watson insane with his terrible violin playing, he sends a few runners (this is before phones) off to ask a few questions around town, and then he solves the case.
And you think "Huh??"
But then he later explains his deductive logic to Watson and -- damn it -- you have to admit that you had all the clues he had, but you were -- so to speak -- clueless.
My only suggestion regarding the books would be to read them in chronological order regarding Holmes, not the published order. Doyle skipped all over the place in time, and the published order was how I read them the first time, but I read them in chronological order the second time and thought it made for a much better read.
How often have I said to you [Watson] that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?
There's a fairly interesting documentary on him on Netflix. You're right -- the first few Holmes stories were just 'pulp fiction' to him -- until they caught fire with the public. Then he had to give it some serious thought, invent the whole background story, invent a recurring bad guy (Moriarty) and all the rest. Hoisted on his own pulp fictional petard.