Sherlock Holmes Quotes

Sherlock Holmes quotes: Wisdom and inspiration from the world's one and only consulting detective. Sherlock Holmes Quote in Speech Bubble

Sherlock Holmes Quote #1 and 2

From Study In Scarlet

"There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it. And now, for lunch."

From The Final Problem

Watson's statement after Sherlock's reported death:

"I have endeavored to clear his memory by attacks upon him whom I shall ever regard as the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known."

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Click these links for the best original quotes on this page about the Baker Street sleuth, his friends and enemies.

Watson's Initial Assessment of Holmes
Just Who Was Sherlock Holmes?
The Sherlock Holmes Stories
Sherlock's Personality
Sherlock's Physical Features
Sherlock's Other Talents
Sherlock's Methods
Mycroft, Sherlock's Brother
Dr. Watson
Mrs. Hudson
Professor Moriarty
Inspector Lestrade
Sherlock & Women
221b Baker Street - Holmes Apartment
Sherlock on crime
Sherlock's Philosophy
Misc. & Fun Quotes
Funny Sherlock Holmes Quotes

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Watson's Initial Assessment

A Study In Scarlet: Chapter 2

A direct quote from Watson's list analyzing his new roommate:
1. Knowledge of Literature - Nil
2. Knowledge of Philosophy - Nil
3. Knowledge of Astronomy - Nil
4. Knowledge of Politics - Feeble
5. Knowledge of Botany - Variable (Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening.)
6. Knowlege of Geology - Practical, but limited. (Tells at a glance different soils from each other. )
7. Knowledge of Chemistry - Profound
8. Knowledge of Anatomy - Accurate by unsystematic
9. Knowledge of Sensational Literature - Immense (He appears to know every horror perpetrated in the country.)
10. Plays the violin well.
11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman.
12. Has a good pratical knowledge of British law.

Magnifying Glass

Who Was Sherlock Holmes, Really?

Sherlock Holmes silhouette

You know him as a detective and a bachelor. But did you know Sherlock Holmes was also a musician and boxer?

The son of a wealthy, country squire, he traded the ease of country life for the bustle of London and the goal of "living by his own wits."

He became a "consulting detective" - and even created his own job title and job description. Although in his role as a consultant, he generally allowed the police to take the credit for the crimes he solved, his seclusion eventually gave way to international acclaim.

Read more about Sherlock Holmes biographical information and quotes about Watson's description of him.

Quote #3

From The Red Headed Leaguer

"Holmes, the sleuth hound, Holmes, the relentless, keen-witted, ready-handed criminal agent...."

Quote #4

From Study In Scarlet

Watson said of Holmes:

I had already observed that he was as sensitive to flattery on the score of his art as any girl could be of her beauty.

Quote #5

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

Holmes: "As to reward, my profession is its own reward; but you are at liberty to defray whatever expenses I may be put to at the time which suits you best."

Quote #6

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

But I have heard, Mr. Holmes, that you can see deeply into the manifold wickedness of the human heart.

Sherlock Holmes Footprints diagram

The Sherlock Holmes Stories

Quick Quiz: Of the sixty stories about Sherlock Holmes, how many were purported to be written by Watson?
A. Forty
B. Thirty
C. Fifty Eight

The answer is C - 58 stories. The other two were written in first person by Holmes himself.

Find the complete listing of all the Sherlock Holmes Books and Stories that were published by Arthur Conan Doyle. Also check out some quotes about what Holmes though of Watson's work as his biographer.

Quote #7

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

On glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases of which I have during the last eight years studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes, I find many tragic, some comic, a large number merely strange; but none commonplace; for working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth, he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic.

Another feature of the Sherlock Holme's stories is he always wins. Well, almost always......

Quote #8

From The Five Orange Pips

Sherlock: "I have been beaten four times - three times by men and once by a woman."

Quote #9

From The Adventure of Black Pepper

The fact that several rough-looking men called during that time and inquired for Captain Basil made me understand that Holmes was working somewhere under one of the numerous disguises and names with which he concealed his own formidable identity.

Magnifying Glass

Quote #10

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes in his professional investigations, and in admiring the rapid deductions, as swift as intuitions, and yet always founded on a logical basis, with which he unraveled the problems which were submitted to him.

Quote #11

From The Adventure of the Empty House

I knew not what wild beast we were about to hunt down in the dark jungle of criminal London, but I was well assured from the bearing of this master huntsman that the adventure was a most grave one, while the sardonic smile which occasionally broken through his ascetic gloom boded little good for the object of our quest.

At the conclusion of his cases, Holmes handed the evidence and criminal over to the local police and let them get all the credit. This requires the reader to read between the lines to understand how he made a living and, eventually, a fortune.

Quote #12

From The Adventure of the Retired Colourman

The inspector smiled. "Well, maybe not. I understand that I have your word, Mr. Holmes, that you will step right out of the case now and that you turn all your results over to us."
"Certainly, that is always my custom."
"Well, in the name of the force I thank you."

Quote #13

From The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

Each case has been the prelude to another, and the crisis once over the actors have passed for ever out of our busy lives.

Magnifying Glass

Holmes Personality

The most popular quotes in the stories tell us more about Sherlock's quirky personality.

Holmes Quote #14

From The Adventure of the Illustrious Client

There was a curious secretive streak in the man which led to many dramatic effects, but left even his closest friend guessing as to what his exact plans might be. He pushed to an extreme the axiom that the only safe plotter was he who plotted alone.

Quote #15

From The Musgrave Ritual

An anomaly which often struck me in the character of my friend Sherlock Holmes was that, although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind, and although also he affected a certain quiet primness of dress, he was none the less in his personal habits one of the most untidy men that ever drove a fellow lodger to distration. Not that I am in the least conventional in that respect myself. The rough-and-tumble work in Afghanistan, coming on the top of natural Bohemianism of disposition, has made me rather more lax than befits a medical man. But with me there is a limit, and when I find a man who keeps his cigars in the coal-settle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very center of his wooden mantelpiece, then I begin to give myself virtuous airs.

I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pasttime; and when Holmes in one of his queer humours, would sit in an armchair with his hair-trigger and a hundred Boxer cartridges and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V.R. done in bullet pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmosphere nor the appearance of our room was improved by it.

Quote #16

From The Gloria Scott

Holmes describing his college years: "I was never a very sociable fellow, Watson; always rather fond of moping in my rooms and working out my own little methods of thought, so that I never mixed much with the men of my year. Bar fencing and boxing I had few athletic tastes, and then my line of study was quite distinct from that of the other fellows, so that we had no points of contact at all."

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #17

From The Adventure of the Devil's Foot

To his sombre and cynical spirit all popular applause was always abhorrent and nothing amused him more at the end of a successful case than to hand over the actual exposure to some orthodox official, and to listen with a mocking smile to the general chorus of misplaced congratulations.

Quote #18

From The Adventure of the Priory School

His eyes shone, and his cheek was flushed with the exhilaration of the master workman who sees his work lie ready before him. A very different Holmes, this active alert man, from the introspective and pallid dreamer of Baker Street.

Quote #19

From The Yellow Face

About Holmes: His diet was usually of the sparest, and his habits were simple to the verge of austerity.

Quote #20

From The Adventure of the Three Students

My friend's temper had not improved since he had been deprived of his congenial surroundings of Baker Street. Without his scrap-books, his chemicals, and his homely untidiness, he was an uncomfortable man.

Quotes #21

From The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

A depleted bank account had caused me to postpone my holiday, and as to my companion, neither the country not the sea presented the slightest attraction to him. He loved to lie in the very center of five million people, with his filaments stretching out and running through them, responsive to every little rumur or suspicion of unsolved crime. Appreciation of nature found no place among his many gifts, and his only change was when he turned his mind from the evil-doer of the town to track down his brother of the country.

Quote #22

From The Adventure of the Six Napoleons

A flush of color sprang to Holmes' pale cheeks, and he bowed to us like the master dramatist who receives the homage of his audience. It was at such moments that for an instant he ceased to be a reasoning machine, and betrayed his human love for admiration and applause.

Quote #23

From The Yellow Face

Few men were capable of greater muscular effort, and he was undoubtedly one of the finest boxers of his weight that I have ever seen, but he looked upon aimless bodily exertion as a waste of energy, and he seldom bestirred himself save where there was some professional object to be served. Then, he was absolutely untiring and indefatigable.

Sherlock Quotes #24

From The Adventure of the Red Circle

He had an almost hypnotic power of soothing when he wished.

Quote #25

From The Adventure of the Devil's Foot

One realized the red-hot energy which underlay Holmes' phlegmatic exterior when one saw the sudden change which came over him from the moment that he entered the fatal apartment.

Quote #26

From The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone

Watson: "No, no you are joking, Holmes!"

Holmes: "Even my limited sense of humour could evolve a better joke than that."

Quote #27

From The Adventure of the Devil's Foot

The state of his health was not a matter in which he himself took the faintest interest, for his mental detachment was absolute, but he was induced at last, on the threat of being permanently disqualified from work, to give himself a complete change of scene and air.

Quote #28

From The Reigate Puzzle

Even his iron constitution, however, had broken down under the strain of an investigation which had extended over two months, during which period he had never worked less than fifteen hours a day and had more than once, as he assured me, kept to his task for five days at a stretch. Even the triumphant issue of his labours could not save him from reaction after so terrible an exertion, and at a time when Europe was ringing with his name and when his room was literally ankle deep with congratulatory telegrams I found him a prey to the blackest depression. Even the knowledge that he had succeeded where the police of three countries had failed, and that he had out-maneuvered at every point the most accomplished swindler in Europe, was insufficient to rouse him from his nervous prostration.

Quote #28b

From Wisteria Lodge

My mind is like a racing engine, tearing itself to pieces because it is not connected up with the work for which it was built.


I could tell by numerous subtle signs, which might have been lost upon anyone but myself, that Holmes was on a hot scent. As impassive as ever to the casual observer, there were none the less a subdued eagerness and suggestion of tension in his brightened eyes and brisker manner which assured me that the game was afoot.

Quote 28c

Study In Scarlet - Chapter 2

His eyes were sharp and piercing, save during those intervals of torpor to which I have alluded; and his thin, hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision. His chin, too, had the prominence and squareness which mark the man of determination. His hands were invariably blotted with ink and stained with chemicals, yet he was possessed of extraordinary delicacy of touch.

Quote 28d

Sign of Four - Chapter 8

"I have a curious constitution. I never remember feeling tired by work, though idleness exhausts me completely."

Quote 28e and f

Adventure of Red Circle

Client discussing previous client: "But he would never cease talking of it - your kindness, sir, and the way in which you brought light into the darkness."


Holmes was accessible upon the side of flattery, and also, to do him justice, upon the side of kindness.

Quote 28g, h, i, j

He was quivering with silent laughter.

Three years had certainly not smoothed the asperities of his temper or his impatience with a less active intelligence than his own.

Again in the utter silence I heard that thin, sibilant note which spoke of suppressed excitement.

The sardonic smile that occasionally broke through his ascetic gloom boded little good for the object of our quest.

Sherlock Holmes' Physical Appearance

There are so many references, I have not listed them all. But these are from Doyle's writing

More Than A Detective

In addition to his superior logic, Sherlock possessed a number of traits well known to his fans but not known to casual readers who have limited themselves to only one or two stories. Here are the direct quotes which will tell you more about Sherlock Holme's raqnge of skills and interests.

Quote #29


The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

Holmes was settling down to one of those all night chemical researches which he frequently indulged in, when I would leave him stooping over a retort and a test-tube at night and find him in the same position when I came down to breakfast in the morning.

Quote #30


From The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

Holmes:"You are aware that I have some proficiency in the good old British sport of boxing. Occasionally it is of service. To-day, for example, I should have come to very ignominious grief without it."

Japanese Wrestling

Boxing wasn't his only fighting skill, thankfully, as his fans learned his martial arts saved him on the cliffs of Reichenbach Falls.

From The Adventure of the Empty House

I have some knowledge, however, of baritsu, or the Japaneses system of wrestling, which has more than once been useful to me.


Master of Disguise

From The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone

Holmes on his disguises: "Old Baron Dawson said the night before he was hanged that in my case what the law had gained the stage had lost."



From Sign of Four - Chapter 8

He began to play some low, dreamy, melodious air - his own, no doubt, for he had a remarkable gift for improvisation.



From Sign of Four - Chapter 9

Holmes: "Only I insist upon your dining with us. It wil be ready in half an hour. I have oysters and a brace of grouse, with something a little choice in white wines - Watson, you have never yet recognized my merits as a housekeeper.



From Sign of Four - Chapter 10

Holmes could talk exceedingly well when he chose, and that night he did choose.

Holmes Detective Methods

Sherlock frequently refers to his methods. Just what were those methods? Direct quotes about Sherlock Holme's methods follow.

Quote #32

From The Man with the Twisted Lip

Sherlock Holmes was a man, however, who, when he had an unsolved problem upon his mind, would go for days, and even for a week, without rest, turning it over, rearranging his facts, looking at it from every point of view until he had either fathomed it or convinced himself that his data were insufficient.

Quote #33

From The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Sherlock: "Singularity is almost invariably a clue."

Quote #34a and b

From The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carax

Holmes: "When you follow two separate trains of thought, Watson, you will find some point of intersection which should approximate the truth. We will start now, not from the lady but from the coffin and argue backwards."

Holmes: "My night was haunted by the thought that somewhere a clue, a strange sentence, a curious observation, had come under my notice and had been too easily dismissed. Then, suddenly in the gray of the morning the words came back to me."

Quote #35

From The Adventure of the Creeping Man

Always look at the hands first, Watson. Then cuffs, trouser-knees, and boots.

Quote #36

From The Five Orange Pips

Holmes: As Cuvier could correctly describe a whole animal by the contemplation of a single bone, so the observer who has thoroughly understood one link in a series of incidents should be able to accurately state all the other ones both before and after.

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #37

From The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier

Holmes describes his mental process: "That process starts upon the supposition that when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Quote #38

From The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire

It was one of the peculiarities of his proud, self-contained nature that though he docketed any fresh information very quietly and accurately in his brain, he seldom made any acknowledgment to the giver.


From Silver Blaze

Conversation between Inspector Gregory and Sherlock Holmes:
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
That was the curious incident", remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Quote #40

From The Adventure of the Abbey Grange

Holmes: "I am sorry to make you the victim of what may seem a mere whim, but on my life, Watson, I simply can't leave that case in this condition. Every instinct that I possess cries out against it. It's wrong - it's all wrong - I'll swear that its wrong."


From The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

We approached the case, as you remember, with an absolutely blank mind, which is always an advantage. We had formed no theories. We were simply there to observe and to draw inferences from our observations.


From Study In Scarlet - Chapter 3

"They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains," he remarked with a smile. "It's a very bad definition but it does apply to detective work."


From Sign of Four - Chapter 6

He whipped out his lens and a tape measure and hurried about the room on his knees, measuring, comparing, examining, with his long thin nose only a few inches from the planks and his beady eyes gleaming and deep-set like those of a bird. So swift, silent, and furtive were his movements, like those of a trained bloodhound picking out a scent, that I could not but think what a terrible criminal he would have made had he turned his energy and sagacity against the law instead of exerting them in its defense.

#40e: Workaholic

From Sign of Four - Chapter 10

Well, I gave my mind a thorough rest by plunging into a chemical analysis. One of our greatest statesmen has said that a change of work is the best rest. So it is.

#40f: Imagines the criminals' move

From Sign of Four - Chapter 10

How could he, then, conceal the launch and yet have her at hand when he wanted? I wondered what I should do myself if I were in his shoes.

Quote #40g: Watch the Agony Columns

From The Adventure of the Red Circle

He also took down the great book in which, day to day, he filed the agony columns of the various London journals. "Dear me!" said he, turning over the pages, "what a rag-bag of singular happenings! But surely the most vauable hunting ground that was given to a student of the unusual."

Quote #40h

From The Adventure of the Empty House

To find that least line of resistance which my poor friend had declared to be the starting-point of every investigation.

Magnifying Glass

Mycroft: Sherlock Holme's Brother

Mycroft Holmes silhouette

Later years saw an increased interest of the public in Mycroft, Sherlock Holmes brother. He is a bit of a mysterious figure, and his appearance in only two books adds to his intrigue.

Sherlock credits him with having superior intellectual and deductive abilities to his own. In one scene he demonstrates this by telling the life story of a man who walks by the window.

He is a high government agent with knowledge of international secrets. Like his younger brother, he avoids the limelight and detests social gatherings. He has few friends and belongs to the Diogenes Club - a peculiar organization of gentlemen that forbid them from speaking to each other. They sat and read in comfortable chairs, and any gentleman who broke the rules against speaking three times was retired from the club.

Mycroft appears to be the only living close relative. While seldom mentioned, it appears that he is the one individual that Holmes is closest to. Only Mycroft was aware of Holmes survival when even Watson was fooled for three years; and it was Mycroft who paid the rent and maintained Sherlocks' rooms during that time.

Mycroft Quote #41

From The Greek Interpreter

I had come to believe that he was an orphan with no relatives living, but one day, to my very great surprise, he began to talk to me about his brother.

Quote 42

From The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

"Mycroft draws our hundred and fifty pounds a year, remains a subordinate, has no ambitions of any kind, will receive neither honor nor title, but remains the most indispensable man in the country"


From The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

Sherlock about Mycroft: "Well, his position is unique. He has made it for himself. There has never been anything like it before, nor will be again. He has the tidiest and most orderly brain, with the greatest capacity for storing facts, of any man living. The same great powers which I have turned to the detection of crime has used for his particular business."

Quote #44

From The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

A moment later the tall and portly form of Mycroft Holmes was ushered into the room. Heavily built and massive, there was a suggestion of uncouth physical inertia in the figure, but above this unwieldy frame there was perched a head so masterful in its brow, so alert in its steel-gray, deep-set eyes, so firm in its lips, and so subtle in its play of expression, that after the first glance one forgot the the gross body and remembered only the dominant mind.

More quotes about Mycroft from Bruce Partington Plans

Final Problem #44b

As Holmes and Watson flee from Moriarty and gang in the dramatic Final Problem, Mycroft is in on the action.


From his last letter to Watson before the conflict he believed would end his life:
"I made every disposition of my property before leaving England and handed it to my brother Mycroft."

Empty House - 44d

We also know from The Adventure of the Empty House that Mycroft was the only confidant who knew Sherlock survived Reichenbach Falls:
"I had only one confidant - my brother Mycrot...As to Mycroft, I had to confide in him in order to obtain the money which I needed."

So while their relationship appears distant (we don't see them together except twice in the entire canon), there is a closeness of sorts.

Any Other Silbings?

Doyle provided Sherlock with no other siblings besides Mycroft. Sherringford was the original name Doyle was considering for Sherlock and not a sibling.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

Dr Watson

Dr. Watson was the faithful assistant who acted as a sounding board to the restless detective. He accompanied him on his cases and became his biographer.

But he also had his own demanding career as a surgeon and former military officer. Read more about the biography and role of Dr. John Watson. But also check out the direct quotes about Dr. Watson below.

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #45

From The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier

Holmes: "Speaking of my old friend and biographer, I would take this opportunity to remark that if I burden myself with a companion in my various little inquiries it is not done out of sentiment or caprice, but it is that Watson has some remarkable characteristics of his own to which in his modesty he has given small attention amid his exaggerated estimates of my own performances."

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #45a

From The Sign of Four - Chapter 10

Watson: I have coursed many creatures in in many countries during my checkered career, but never did sport give me such a wid thrill as this mad, flying man-hunt down the Thames.

Quote #46

From The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier

The good Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife, the only selfish action which I can recall in our association. (This was his second wife, an unnamed woman, whom he married in 1902. Watson married Mary Morstan in in 1890 and she died in 1894.)

Quote #47

From Silver Blaze

Holmes: "Because I made a blunder, my dear Watson-which is, I am afraid, a more common occurrence than anyone would think who only knew me through your memoirs."

Quote #48

From The Adventure of the Empty House

Holmes' reaction to the death of Watson's wife:
"Work is the best antidote to sorrow, my dear Watson."

Sherlock Holmes Quote #49

From The Hound of the Baskervilles

One of Sherlock Holmes' defects - if, indeed, one may call it a defect - was that he was exceedingly loath to communicate his full plans to any other person until the instant of their fulfillment. Partly it came no doubt from his own masterful nature, which loved to dominate and surprise those who were around him. Partly also from his professional caution, which urged him never to take any chances. The result, however, was very trying for those who were acting as his agents and assistants. I had often suffered under it.

Watson was a former military man and apparently a pretty good shot....

Quote #50

From The Problem of Thor Bridge

Holmes: "Watson, I have some recollection that you go armed upon these excursions of ours."


His Last Bow

Holmes: "Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age."

Quote #52

From The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire

Holmes: "I never get your limits, Watson. There are unexplored possibilities about you."

Quote #53

From The Problem of Thor Bridge

Holmes: "I am getting into your involved habit, Watson, of telling a story backward."

Quote #54

From The Adventure of the Creeping Man

The relations between us in those latter days were peculiar. He was a man of habits, narrow and concentrated habits, and I had become one of them. As an institution I was like the violin, the shag tobacco, the old black pipe, the index books, and others perhaps less excusable. When it was a case of active work and a comrade was needed upon whose nerve he could place some reliance, my role was obvious. But apart from this I had uses. I was a whetstone for his mind.

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #55

From The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone

Watson: "Count me in, Holmes. I have nothing to do for a day or two."

Holmes: "Your morals don't improve, Watson. You have added fibbing to your other vices. You bear every sign of the busy medical man with calls on him every hour."

Quote #56

From The Adventure of the Three Garriders

After Watson was shot in the leg:

"You're not hurt, Watson? For God's sake, say that you are not hurt?"

It was worth a wound - it was worth many wounds - to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble and single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.

One of the amusing features that crops up from time to time in the series of stories is the professional relationship between Holmes and the humble Dr. Watson who serves as his assistant, as well as the first-person biographer of Holmes' adventures. Adding to this humor is the lack of praise, and in fact perpetual criticism, that Holmes heaps upon Watson's detective work in spite of his obvious regard for his assistant's work.

Quote #57

From A Case of Identity

" 'Pon my word, Watson, you are coming along wonderfully. You have really done very well indeed. It is true that you have missed everything of importance, but you have hit upon the method, and you have a quick eye for color."


From The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carax

Sherlock to Watson regarding his detective work on a case: "I cannot at the moment recall any possible blunder which you have omitted."


From The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

"Good, Watson. Very good - but quite inadmissible."

Quote 59b:
"Come, come sir." said Holmes, laughing. "You are like my friend, Dr. Watson, who has a bad habit of telling his stories wrong end foremost."

Quote 59c:
After his habit he said nothing, and after mine I asked no questions. Sufficient for me to share the sport and lend my humble help to the capture without distracting that intent brain with needless interruption. All would come round to me in due time.

Quote #60

From The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier

Holmes: "The ideas of my friend Watson, though limited, are exceedingly pertinacious."

Quote #61

From The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carax

On Watson going out of town to do some independent sleuthing:

"Go, then, my dear Watson, and if my humble counsel can ever be valued at so extravagant a rate as two pence a word, it waits your disposal night and day at the end of the Continental wire."

Quote #61a

From The Adventure of the Dying Detective

Watson's reason for obeying Holmes:
"I have so deep a respect for the extraordinary qualities of Holmes that I have always deferred to his wishes, even when I least understood them."

Also from Dying Detective

Watson as the doctor: "But now all my professional instincts were aroused. Let him be my master elsewhere. I at least was his in a sick room."

Spoken to Holmes: "Holmes, you are not yourself. A sick man is but a child and so I will treat you. Whether you like it or not, I will examine your symptoms and treat you for them."

Also from Dying Detective

Holmes on Watson's integrity (and inability to lie or deceive)
"You will realize that among your many talents dissimulation finds no place."

Holmes and Mrs. Hudson

The most famous land-lady in literature, Mrs. Hudson is a quiet ally and a constant presence until the next to the last story. While different movie directors have taken a variety of approaches to represent her personality, Arthur Conan Doyle focuses more on what she endured than what she was like. Here are the quotes from his stories:

Sherlock Holmes Quote #62

From The Adventure of the Dying Detective

Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of Sherlock Holmes, was a long-suffering woman. Not only was her first floor flat invaded at all hours by throngs of singular and often undesirable characters but her remarkable lodger showed an eccentricity and irregularity in his life which must have sorely tried her patience. His incredible untidiness, his addiction to music at strange hours, his occasional revolver practice within doors, his weird and often malodorous scientific experiments, and the atmosphere of violence and danger which hung around him made him the very worse tenant in London.

#62b & c

ALSO From From The Dying Detective

The landlady stood in the deepest awe of him and never dared to interfere with him, however outrageous his proceedings might seem. She was fond of him too, for he had a remarkable gentleness and courtesy in his dealings with women.


Mrs. Hudson thought Sherlock was dying: Mrs. Hudson was waiting, trembling and weeping in the passage.


From The Adventure of the Empty House

Holmes describing his reappearance after three years: I came over at once to London, called in my own person at Baker Street, threw Mrs. Hudson into violent hysterics, and found that Mycroft had preserved my rooms and my papers exactly as they had always been. It was Mrs. Hudson, not Mycroft, who had preserved the rooms and papers. Mycroft merely paid the bill. End of rant.

Holmes and Moriarty Quotes

Professor Moriarty

Only a few stories of the Sherlock Holmes stories included Professor Moriarty. Nonetheless, when the composite of all stories is told, Moriarty scored highest as the chief villain and arch enemy, and every film director who took up the task of filming the favored sleuth would include him as the criminal Sherlock was determined to beat.

Quote #63

From The Final Problem

"I tell you Watson, in all seriousness, that if I could beat that man, if I could free society of him, I should feel that my own career had reached its summit, and I should be prepared to turn to some placid line in life. Between ourselves, the recent cases in which I have been of assistance to the royal family of Scandinavia, and to the French Republic, have left me in such a position that I could continue to live in the quiet fashion which is most congenial to me, and to concentrate my attention upon my chemical researches. But I could not rest, Watson, I could not sit quiet in my chair, if I thought that such a man as Professor Moriarty were walking the streets of London unchallenged."

Quote #64

From The Final Problem

"I think I may go so far as to say, Watson, that I have not lived wholly in vain. If my record were closed to-night I could still survey it with equanimity. The air of London is the sweeter for my presence. In over a thousand cases, I am not aware that I have ever used my powers upon the wrong side. Of late I have been tempted to look into the problems furnished by nature rather than those more superficial ones for which our artificial society is responsible. Your memoirs will draw to an end, Watson, upon the day that I crown my career by the capture or extinction of the most dangerous and capable criminal in Europe."

Quote #65

From The Adventure of the Illustrious Client

Holmes: "He is an excellent antagonist, cold as ice, silky voiced, and soothing as one of your fashionable consultants, and poisonous as a cobra. He has breeding in him - a real aristocrat of crime, with a superficial suggestion of afternoon tea and all the cruelty of the grave behind it."

Inspector Lestrade Quotes

The most famous of Holmes' Scotland Yard associates, Lestrade comes in and out of the canon a number of times. He makes it into most movie and TV productions as well. Here are a few snippets of info on the original Doyle-created-Lestrade:


Gregson was another inspector who appears several times. Here's a quote when he and Holmes unexpectedly meet on a case

Quote #65b

From The Adventure of the Red Circle

"I'll do you this justice, Mr. Holmes, that I was never in a case yet that I didn't feel stronger for having you on my side."

Holmes and Women

Everyone seems interested in quotes about Sherlock Holme's relationship with women; which didn't exist. The most mysterious woman in the series is Irene Adler, who is generally included in films but was only present in one story and briefly referred to in two others. But what Watson says about Adler and Holmes tells us alot about Holmes in general.

Quote #66

From A Scandal in Bohemia

To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has ever seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position....And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.

Sherlock Quote #67

From The Sign of the Four

Holmes reaction to Watson's engagement:

"I think she is one of the most charming young ladies I ever met and might have been most useful in such work as we have been doing. She had a decided genius that way.... But love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment."

"I trust," said I, laughing, "that my judgment may survive the ordeal."

Quote #68

From The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton

Holmes: You would not call me a marrying man, Watson?
Watson: No, indeed!
Holmes: You'll be interested to hear that I am engaged.
Watson: My dear fellow! I congrat___
Holmes: To Milverton's housemaid.
Watson: Good heavens, Holmes!
Holmes: I wanted information, Watson.
Watson: Surely you have gone too far?

Quote #69

From The Man with the Twisted Lip

Holmes: "I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner."

Quote #70

From The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

Watson: "Those are all the notices which appeared before the disappearance of the bride."
Holmes: "Before the what?" asked Holmes with a start.
Watson: "The vanishing of the lady."
Holmes: "When did she vanish, then?"
Watson: "At the wedding breakfast."
Holmes: "Indeed. This is more interesting than it promised to be; quite dramatic, in fact."
Watson: "Yes, it struck me as being a little out of the common."
Holmes: "They often vanish before the ceremony, and occasionally during the honeymoon; but I cannot call to mind anything quite so prompt as this. Pray, let me have the details."

Quote #71

From The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

My friend took the lady's ungloved hand and examined it with as close an attention and as little sentiment as a scientist would show to a specimen.

Quote #72

From The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez

I may have remarked before that Holmes had, when he liked, a peculiarly ingratiating way with women, and that he very readily established terms of confidence with them.


From The Adventure of the Second Stain

"And yet the motives of women are so inscrutable. You remember the woman at Margate whom I suspected for the same reason. No powder on her nose - that proved to be the correct solution. How can you build on such a quicksand? Their most trivial action may mean volumes, or their most extraordinary conduct may depend upon a hairpin or a curling-tongs."

Quote #74

From The Adventure of the Lion's Mane

Holmes: "Women have seldom been an attraction to me, for my brain has always governed my heart, but I could not look upon her perfect clear-cut face, with all the soft freshness of the downlands in her delicate colouring, without realizing that no young man would cross her path unscathed."


From The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

"Man or woman?" I asked.

"Oh, man, of course. No woman would ever send a reply-paid telegram. She would have come."


From The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carax

Holmes: "One of the most dangerous classes in the world is the drifting and friendless woman. She is the most harmless and often the most useful of mortals, but she is the inevitable inciter of crime in others. She is helpless. She is migratory. She has sufficient means to take her from country to country and from hotel to hotel. She is lost, as often as not, in a maze of obscure pensions and boarding houses. She is a stray chicken in a world of foxes. When she is gobbled up she is hardly missed."


From The Valley of Fear

Part I, Chapter 6

Holmes: I am not a whole-souled admirer of womankind, as you are aware, Watson, but my experience of life has taught me that there are few wives, having any regard for their husbands, who would let any man's spoken word stand between them and that husband's dead body. Should I ever marry, Watson, I should hope to inspire my wife wiith some feeling which would prevent her from being walked off by a housekeeper when my corpse was lying within a few yards of her. It was badly stage-managed; for even the rawest of investigators must be struck by the absence of the usual feminine ululation. Ululation: high-pitched howl


From The Dying Detective

The landlady stood in the deepest awe of him and never dared to interfere with him, however outrageous his proceedings might seem. She was fond of him too, for he had a remarkable gentleness and courtesy in his dealings with women. He disliked and distrusted the sex, but he was always a chivalrous opponent.


From The Adventure of the Devil's Foot

I have never loved, Watson, but if I did and if the woman I loved had met such an end, I might act even as our lawless lion-hunter has done.

Quotes about 221b Baker Street

The most famous address in the world! Interestingly, the numbering system has changed, so there still is debate as to which house would have been 221b Baker at the time of the writing. But here's what we know about the Doyle-written apartment:

Quote #76aa

Study In Scarlet - Chapter 2

We met next day as he had arranged, and inspected the rooms at 221B Baker Street, of which he had spoken at our meeting. They consisted of a couple of comfortable bedrooms and a single large airy sitting room, cheerfuly furnished and illuminated by two broad windows. So desirable in every way were the apartments, and so moderate did the terms seem when divided between us, that the bargain was concuded upon the spot, and we at once entered into possession.

Quote #76bb

Sign of Four - Chapter 8

Watson: "A bath at Baker Street and a complete change freshened me up wonderfully. When I came down to our rooms I found the breakfast laid and Holmes pouring out the coffee."
(Note: So they had running water apparently. Either the bathroom, or Watson's bedroom, or both were on the floor above their main sitting room.)

Quote #76cc

Adventure of the Empty House

Our old chambers had been left unchanged through the supervision of Mycroft Holmes and the immediate care of Mrs. Hudson. As I entered I saw, it is true, an unwonted tidiness, but the old landmarks were all in their place. There were the chemical corner and the acid-stained, deal-topped table. There upon a shelf was the row of formidable scrap-books and books of reference which many of our fellow citizens would have been so glad to burn. The diagrams, the violin case, and the pipe-rack -- even the Persian slipper which contained the tobacco -- al met my eyes as I glanced round me.

Quotes from Holmes On Crime

Quote #77

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

Holmes: Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.

Quote #78

The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

Holmes: "Crime is common. Logic is rare."

Quote #79

From The Stock Broker's Clerk

Holmes: "Human nature is a strange mixture, Watson. You see that even a villain and murderer can inspire such affection that his brother turns to suicide when he learns that his neck is forfeited."

Sherlock Quote #80

The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

Holmes remark about the scenic country: "They always fill me with a certain horror. It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin that does the smiling and beautiful countryside."

"You horrify me!"

"But the reason is very obvious. The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish. There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child, or the thud of a drunkard's blow, does not beget sympathy and indignation among the neighbours, and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going, and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with the poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser."


From The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

"The London criminal is certainly a dull fellow," said he in the querulous voice of the sportsman whose game has failed him. "Look out of this window, Watson. See how the figures loom up, are dimly seen, and then blend once more into the cloud-bank. The thief or the murderer could roam London on such a day as the tiger does the jungle, unseen until he pounces, and then evident only to his victim."


From The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

Life is common place; the papers are sterile; audacity and romance seem to have passed forever from the criminal world.

Quote #83

From The Adventure of the Dancing Men

"What one man can invent another can discover," said Holmes.

The Philosophy of Sherlock Holmes

Quote #84

From The Naval Treaty

Holmes: "There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion. It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers."

Quote #85

From The Adventure of the Illustrious Client

Holmes: "You may have noticed how extremes call to each other, the spiritual to the animal, the cave-man to the angel."

Holmes Quote #86

From The Adventure of the Three Gables

Holmes: But there are always some lunatics about. It would be a dull world without them.

Quote #87

From The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

The example of patient suffering is in itself the most precious of all lessons to an impatient world.


From The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

"What is the meaning of it, Watson?" said Holmes solemnly as he laid down the paper. "What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever."

Quote #89

From The Adventure of the Creeping Man

The highest type of man may revert to the animal if he leaves the straight road of destiny.

Quote #90

From The Adventure of the Red Circle

"Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons with the greatest for the last."

Quote #91

From The Naval Treaty

Holmes remark about boarding schools: "Light-houses, my boy! Beacons of the future! Capsules with hundreds of bright little seeds in each, out of which will spring the wise, better England of the future."

Quote #92

From The Adventure of the Retired Colourman

"Exactly, Watson. Pathetic and futile. But is not all life pathetic and futile? Is not his story a microcosm of the whole? We reach. We grasp. And what is left in our hands at the end? A shadow. Or worse than a shadow - misery."

Quote #93

From The Sign of the Four

Holmes quoting Winwood Reade:

"While the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant. So says the statistician."

Quote #93b

From Sign of Four - Chapter 10

(Talking about boat yard workers) Dirty-looking rascals, but I suppose every one has some little immortal spark concealed about him. You would not think it to look at them. There is no a priori about it. A strange enigma is man.

Quote #94

His Last Bow

Holmes: "There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared."

Fun Sherlock Holmes Quotes

Of course there are also some fun quotes that don't have any particular category to place them in.

Quote #95

From The Problem of Thor Bridge

Holmes: "This case is quite sufficiently complicated to start with without the further difficulty of false information."

Client: "Meaning that I lie?"

Holmes: "Well, I was trying to express it as delicately as I could, but if you insist upon the word I will not contradict you."

Quote #96

From The Adventure of the Three Garridebs

"Yes, it was bad English but good American."

Holmes Quote #97

His Last Bow

"It was I who brought about the separation between Irene Adler and the late King of Bohemia when your cousin Heirich was the Imperial Envoy. It was I also who saved from murder, by the Nihilist Klopman, Count Von und Zu Grafenstein, who was your mother's brother. It was I..."

Von Bork sat up in amazement.

"There is only one man," he cried.

"Exactly," said Holmes.

Funny Sherlock Holmes Quotes

For those of you who wish to skip all the serious philosophy and notes on crime and jump right into the humorous aspects of Sherlock Holmes, we offer these quotes above: 1, 4, 8, 14, 15, 26, 29, 31, 46, 57, 58, 61, 62, 67, 68, 70, 73, 78, 82, 86, 95, 97.

Sherlock Holmes Summary

The Sherlock Holmes Adventures follow a predictable pattern: Okay, so far it sounds like any other literature class, right? Actually, Arthur Conan Doyle used his introductions in a unique way.

Read about his unique use of the introductions, as well as ideas for writing projects, on our page of Literature Analysis of Sherlock Holmes stories.

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Sherlock Holmes Pages

A catalog of our pages on Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock: The Unit Study Sherlock Holmes Unit Study
8 popular stories for Middle or High School
The Speckled Band Speckled Band
Compelling mystery of the whistle in the night
Silver Blaze
Who, where, and why of a dead man and missing horse
The Red Headed League Red Headed League
A silly-looking prank masking an international crime
The Engineer's Thumb Engineers Thumb
Is this one of Doyle's best - or worst - stories?
Crooked Man
Crooked Man
A truly crooked man in a twisted tale of betrayal
in Bohemia
Scandal in Bohemia
Multiple scandals in this drama of love gone wrong
The Dancing Men Dancing Men
Irony of honor in one of his saddest cases
The Final
Final Problem
Doyle's daring decision and the outcry that followed
More About Sherlock Consulting Detective
Interesting tidbits about the world's only consulting detective
More About Dr. Watson Dr Watson and Sherlock Holmes
There's more to Dr. Watson than readers first see
Super Hero Prototypes Holmes and Watson: Superheroes prototypes
Are Holmes and Watson the super hero protypes?
List of All Short Stories List of Sherlock Holmes Short Stories
List of stories and longer books
Sherlock Holmes Quotes
Famous quotes, brilliant sayings, and intriguing insights
Action Plot Summary Summary of Sherlock Action Plot
The unique action plot made Sherlock stories a classic.
Who Is the Best
Sherlock Actor?

Sherlock Holmes best actors
If you want to watch, find who portrayed him the best.
Kids and

Sherlock stories for kids
Most appropriate Sherlock stories for kids
What makes Sherlock #1 Sherlock Holmes popularity
Why is he fiction's most popular character?
What about women?
Sherlock Holmes and Women
An armchair quarterback in the battle of the sexes

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