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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson, wrote 56 short stories and 4 novels featuring the great private detective and his loyal sidekick. Sherlock Holmes fans and scholars refer to these 60 stories the canon. All of the novels and almost all of the short stories are narrated by Dr. Watson. Sherlock Holmes himself narrates two of the later short stories.

Sherlock Holmes Novels

The Sherlock Holmes canon, authored by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, contains 4 novels and 56 short stories. Three of the four novels have a lengthy flashback that explains the back story and motivation of the adventure at hand. The Hound of the Baskervilles is considered by many to be the greatest Sherlock Holmes adventure.

  • A Study in Scarlet (1887): In this landmark adventure, Dr. John H. Watson is looking for a roommate, and when he’s introduced to Sherlock Holmes, their immortal partnership begins. As they take up residence together, Watson begins to wonder about the weirdo he has moved in with. What’s with the mysterious chemical experiments? The endless parade of unusual visitors? What is his line of work? The mystery involves a case of revenge, murder, and obsession that dates back 30 years to the Mormons in Salt Lake City, Utah. Not a bad start!

  • The Sign of the Four (1889): In Doyle’s sophomore effort, readers discover Holmes’s drug abuse, meet the Baker Street Irregulars, and head off on a treasure hunt featuring bloodhounds, savage natives, blowguns, and a boat chase on the Thames. Great stuff!

  • The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902): This novel is a Gothic masterpiece of suspense, atmosphere, and horror. It tells the tale of the Baskervilles, who live on the moor and are haunted by a spectral hound, the hound from hell. With mysterious neighbors, an escaped convict on the loose, and a glowing hellhound, The Hound of the Baskervilles is consistently named by fans as their favorite Holmes story of all.

  • The Valley of Fear (1915): The fourth and final Sherlock Holmes novel, its story is centered around a classic locked-room mystery: How did someone get into John Douglas’s room and kill him, especially when the drawbridge across his moat was up?

Sherlock Holmes Short Stories

The Sherlock Holmes canon, authored by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, contains 4 novels and 56 short stories. The short stories are grouped in 5 collections. Doyle generally excelled at the short story format. He once explained that it took as much effort to concoct the plot of a short story as it did a novel.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes collects the first 12 Sherlock Holmes short stories into 1 volume. These tales were originally published serially in The Strand Magazine from July 1891 to June 1892. The Adventures was published in book form in 1892. Here are the 12 stories in this collection:

  • A Scandal in Bohemia

  • The Red-Headed League

  • A Case of Identity

  • The Boscombe Valley Mystery

  • The Five Orange Pips

  • The Man with the Twisted Lip

  • The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

  • The Adventure of the Speckled Band

  • The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb

  • The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

  • The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

  • The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is the second collection of Holmes short stories, originally published in 1894 in The Strand Magazine. This collection features the death of Sherlock Holmes in the story “The Final Problem.”

  • Silver Blaze

  • The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

  • The Adventure of the Yellow Face

  • The Stockbroker’s Clerk

  • The Gloria Scott

  • The Musgrave Ritual

  • The Adventure of the Reigate Squire

  • The Adventure of the Crooked Man

  • The Resident Patient

  • The Greek Interpreter

  • The Naval Treaty

  • The Final Problem

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Return of Sherlock Holmes is the collected short-story adventures published after the Holmes’ return from the dead. It appeared in 1905. The stories in this volume include the following:

  • The Adventure of the Empty House

  • The Adventure of the Norwood Builder

  • The Adventure of the Dancing Men

  • The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

  • The Adventure of the Priory School

  • The Adventure of Black Peter

  • The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton

  • The Adventure of the Six Napoleons

  • The Adventure of the Three Students

  • The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez

  • The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter

  • The Adventure of the Abbey Grange

  • The Adventure of the Second Stain

His Last Bow

Originally published in 1917 during World War I, His Last Bow collects into one volume the Sherlock Holmes stories published between 1908 and 1913, plus the title story, “His Last Bow,” which was published in 1917. The American edition of this collection had an additional tale, “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box,” which had been suppressed years before.

  • The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

  • The Adventure of the Red Circle

  • The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

  • The Adventure of the Dying Detective

  • The Disappearance of Lady Francis Carfax

  • The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot

  • His Last Bow

The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

The last volume of Sherlock Holmes adventures, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, was published in 1927. It collects the final 12 short stories, which Arthur Conan Doyle sporadically wrote over the last decade of his life. Here are the final adventures of Sherlock Holmes:

  • The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone

  • The Problem of Thor Bridge

  • The Adventure of the Creeping Man

  • The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire

  • The Adventure of the Three Garridebs

  • The Adventure of the Illustrious Client

  • The Adventure of the Three Gables

  • The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier

  • The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane

  • The Adventure of the Retired Colourman

  • The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

  • The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place

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