Sherlock Holmes Short Stories
Four novelettes and fifty six short stories kept Sherlock Holmes fans begging for more. Readers today continue to bask in the adventures of the famous sleuth and his quiet side-kick.
Sherlock Holmes Mysteries
Four Multi-Chaptered Stories
Arthur Conan Doyle produced a total of 56 short stories and 4 full length mysteries of the famous sleuth. While the short stories are read more frequently, true Sherlock Holmes fans continue to enjoy his larger books.
These Sherlock Holmes mysteries are sometimes called novelettes. Shorter than most novels, they are multi-chaptered stories usually less than 100 pages.
A Study In Scarlet
This is the original story which shows the opening of the career of Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective, and his beginning partnership with the injured army surgeon, Dr. John Watson.
Consisting of two parts, and fourteen chapters, it tells the story of a romance gone wrong. The content has a very negative portrayal of Mormons and is offensive to many modern day readers for that reason.
The Sign of Four
The second of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, The Sign of Four, introduces the detective's Science of Deduction, the Baker Street Irregulars, and his client, Miss Mary Morstan - destined to become Mrs. Watson.
Offensive content includes his regular abuse of cocaine (not recommended for younger readers for that reason) as well as stereotyping of an islander native.
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The most famous of the full length Sherlock Holmes mysteries, The Hound of the Baskervilles, takes place after he has achieved notoriety as a detective. We also see Watson appearing solo as a detective for the first time as the two attempt to solve a sinister plot about a frightening family legend.
The Valley of Fear
The last of the full length Sherlock Holmes mysteries revolves around a dead body, a non-grieving wife, and an old feud. This is a two part story with fourteen chapters. In the first part Sherlock solves the mystery of the murder. The killer then has a detailed flash-back explaining the reason behind the mystery.
56 Sherlock Holmes Short Stories
There are a total of 56 short stories in addition to the four longer mysteries described above. These stories were written over a period of many years and published individually in magazines as they were written. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle subsequently grouped and released them in volumes after they had been published as short stories.
Adventure of Sherlock Holmes
The young detective has started to gain recognition by out-witting Scotland Yard (see Study in Scarlet above.) He further demonstrates his sagacious powers in these 12 adventures:
A Scandal in Bohemia
- The Red-headed League
- A Case of identity
- The Boscombe Valley Adventure
- The Five Orange Pips
- The Man with the Twisted LipK
- The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
- The Adventure of the Speckled Band
- The Adventure of the Engineer's ThumbK
- The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor
- The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet
- he Adventure of the Copper Beeches
Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Some of the best cases of the now-famous detective are included in this set of stories. They culminate in the death of Sherlock Holmes, who Sir Arthur Conan Doyle desired to assassinate so he could get on with his own more serious writing. The stories include:
- Silver Blaze
- The Yellow Face
- The Stock-broker's Clerk
- The "Gloria Scott"
- The Musgave Ritual
- The Reigate Puzzle
- The Crooked Man
- The Resident Patient
- The Greek Interpreter
- The Naval Treaty
- The Final Problem.
From The Adventure of the Empty House - Holmes: Describing his escape from death to Watson:
"There I was when you, my dear Watson, and all your following were investigating in the most sympathetic and inefficient manner the circumstances of my death. At last, when you had formed your inevitable and totally erroneous conclusions, you departed for the hotel and I was left alone."
The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Okay, so what does a famous author do when the public demands he resurrect their favorite detective after his death? Doyle had ho choice but to bring him back to life, which he fortunately could do by the way he originally wrote of Sherlock's death.
The convenience of having such a simple explanation for Sherlock's reappearance makes us wonder? Is it possible, in spite of his own words, that Doyle may have planned to bring him back all along?
Of course life can't be that perfect, so he trades Mrs. Watson's life for Sherlock's. Nice dramatic touch there, Sir Doyle!
Conveniently eliminating Mrs. Watson allowed the good doctor to focus more on Sherlock's mysteries and less on his own practice. A wife, a medical practice, a part-time job writing Holmes adventures AND being an assistant to the now internationally-acclaimed detective would be a lot on anyone's schedule.
His fans forgave him for killing Mrs. Watson (hah, he never even mentioned what
happened to her) as they enjoyed the next series of Sherlock Holmes short stories including:
- 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 Gold Pince-Nez
- The Adventure of thw Missing Three-Quarters
- The Adventure of the Abbey Grange
- The Adventure of the Second Stain.
His Last Bow
The partnership between the aging detective and his side-kick, Watson, changes as the decades advance.
This time, however, Doyle decides to let Sherlock retire rather than killing him off. We meet Sherlock and Watson together one last time after his retirement in the last of the Sherlock Holmes short stories - somewhat reminiscent of Robin Hood and Little John reuniting in Sherwood Forest. We learn that Sherlock has taken up bee-keeping and international espionage. Stories include:
- The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge
- The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
- The Adventure of the Red Circle
- The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans
- The Adventure of the Dying Detective
- The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax
- The Adventure of the Devil's Foot
- His Last Bow.
The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes
The previous Sherlock Holmes short stories all appeared in more-or-less chronological order - and were written pretty close to the year in which the events were said to occur. In this final set of stories, Doyle gifted his readers with another 12 stories that were written towards the end of his career and told of events that occured in the earlier career of the now-retired Sherlock.
These stories include
- The Adventure of the Illustrious Client
- The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier
- The Adventure of the Mazrin Stone
- The Adventure of the Three Gables
- The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire
- The Adventure of the Three Garridebs
- The Problem of Thor Bridge
- The Adventure of the Creeping Man
- The Adventure of the Lion's Mane
- The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger
- The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place
- The Adventure of the Retired Colourman.
Holmes Speaking to Watson - The Adventure of the Copper Beeches
"It is pleasant to me to observe, Watson, that you have so far grasped this truth that in these little records of our cases which you have been good enough to draw up, and, I am bound to say, occasionally to embellish, you have given prominenced not so much to the many causes celebres
and sensational trials in which I have figured but rather to those incidents which may have been trivial in themselves...Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell. You have degraded what should have been a course of lectures into a series of tales."
More About Sherlock Holmes Stories
Learn more about Sherlock Holmes and his career as the one and only consulting detective.
See the link below for almost one hundred of the most famous Sherlock Holmes Quotes.