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?