Sherlock Holmes Quotes

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

Sherlock Holmes Footprints diagram Sherlock Holmes short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle make a great unit study as well as a fun study for students doing a literature analysis.

A what?

For students who have to write a book report, or even a full literary analysis for a college thesis, Sherlock is a great subject. Particularly for those students who like action and detest Shakespeare and Sophocles, Sherlock comes to the rescue.

We provide a number of interesting Sherlock Holmes quotes, facts, and suggestions for books reports or analysis of literary elements.

So what are you waiting for. Grab your magnifying glass and let's start analyzing the most famous detective in literature.

Find Favorite Sherlock Holmes' Quotes On This Page

We have the best quotes by Sherlock Holmes listed by category. Follow the links of the different sections to find more information about the Baker Street sleuth and his friends and enemies.

Just Who Was Sherlock Holmes

The Sherlock Holmes Stories

Sherlock's Personality

Sherlock's Other Talents

Sherlock's Methods

Mycroft, Sherlock's Brother

Dr. Watson

Mrs. Hudson

Professor Moriarty

Sherlock & Women

Sherlock on crime

Sherlock's Philosophy

Misc. & Fun Quotes

Funny Sherlock Holmes Quotes

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Sherlock Holmes Quote #1

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."

Sherlock Holmes Quote #2

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."

Magnifying Glass

Who Was Sherlock Holmes, Really?

Sherlock Holmes

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Sherlock Holmes 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."

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #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.

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.

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."

Quote #31

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."

Holmes Detective Methods

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."

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #34

From The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carax

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.

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #39

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."

Magnifying Glass

Sherlock Holmes Smarter 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.

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #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"

Sherlock Holmes Quote #43

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 fats, of any man living. The same great powers which I have turned to the detection of crime has used for his particular business."

Sherlock 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.

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 of Dr. Watson.

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."

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.

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."

Sherlock Quotes #51

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.

Sherlock Holmes 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."

Sherlock Quotes #58

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."

Quote #59

From The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

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

"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 #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."

Holmes and Mrs. Hudson

The most famous land-lady in literature, Mrs. Hudson is a quiet ally and 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.

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #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.

Holmes and Moriarty

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."

Holmes and Women

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."

Sherlock Holmes 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."

Sherlock Holmes 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.

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #73

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."

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #75

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."

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #76

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."

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."

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #81

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."

Sherlock Holmes Quotes #82

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

Holmes: Describing his escape from death to Watson:
"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 #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 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 write 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.

Also see the quotes on the other pages regarding our illustrious detective and his biographer's description of him.

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Sherlock Holmes Pages

A catalog of our pages on Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes: The Unit Study Sherlock Holmes Unit Study
Our 183 Page Unit Study
of 8 popular stories
Adventure of the Speckled Band Speckled Band
Analyze the compelling mystery of the dangerous whistle in the night in this famous who-dunn-it.
Silver Blaze
Your investigation will uncover the who, the where, and the why of a murdered man and the missing horse.
The Red Headed League Red Headed League
Evaluate how Doyle turned a silly-looking prank into a serious international crime.
Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb Engineers Thumb
Assess if this strange tale is one of Doyle's best - or worst - stories.
Crooked Man
Crooked Man
Analyze who the truly crooked man is in this twisted tale of love and betrayal.
in Bohemia
Scandal in Bohemia
Our analysis uncovers multiple scandals in this internataional drama of love gone wrong.
Adventure of the Dancing Men Dancing Men
Investigate the form and outcome of one of Sherlock's saddest cases.
The Final
Final Problem
An evaluation of 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 was more to Dr. Watson's life than the readers understood at first.
List of All Short Stories List of Sherlock Holmes Short Stories
A list of the the Sherlock Holmes short stories and books they were published in.
Sherlock Holmes Quotes
Famous quotes, brilliant sayings, and intriguing insights from Sherlock and company.
Action Plot Summary Summary of Sherlock Action Plot
See how Doyle's unique action plot made Sherlock stories a permanent feature in the halls of classic lit.
Kids and

Sherlock stories for kids
What are the most appropriate Sherlock stories for kids? Check out our recommendations.

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